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By C. H, M. 




AutTior of Notes on Genesis, Exodtis, Levitictu, 
Numbers , and Deuteronomy. 



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A. W. Otto, Printer and PublishbK) 

580 YoNOE Street, 



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Introductory 1 

The Fact Itself H 

The Double Bearing of the Fact . . .20 
** The Coming" AND "The Day" . . . .29 

The Two Resurrections 47 

The Judgment 54 

The Jewish Remnant 63 

Christendom 73 

The Ten Virgins . 82 

The Talents . . 91 

Concluding Remarks 101 





Papers on the Lord's Coming. 


THE attentive reader of the New Testament will 
find, in its pages, three solemn and weighty facts 
presented to his view ; namely, first. That the Son of 
God has come into this world and gone away ; second- 
ly. That the Holy Ghost has come down to this earth, 
and is here still ; and, thirdly. That the Lord Jesus is 
coming again. 

These are the three great subjects unfolded in the 
New Testament scriptures ; and we shall find that each 
of them has a double bearing : it has a bearing upon 
the world, and a bearing upon the church ; upon the 
world, as a whole, and upon each unconverted man, 
woman, and child in particular ; upon the church, as a 
whole, and upon each individual member thereof, in 

Particular. It is impossible for anyone to avoid the 
earing of these three grand facts upon his own perso- 
nal condition and future destiny. 

And,be it noted, we are not speaking of doctrines — 
though, no doubt, there are doctrines — but of facts, 
facts presented in the simplest possible manner, by the 
various inspired writers employed to set them forth. 
There is no attempt at garnishing or setting off. The 
facts speak for themselves ; they are recorded and left 
to produce their ov. n powerful effect upon the soul. 

I. And, first of all, let us look at the fact that the 
Son of God has been in this world of ours. **God so 
loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son." 
"The Son of God has come." He came in perfect 
love, as the very expression of the heart and mind, the 
nature and character of God. He was the brightness 



of God's glory, and the express image of His person, 
and yet alowfy, humble, gracious, social man ; one who 
was to be seen, from day to day, about the streets ; 
going from house to house ; kind and affable to all ; 
easily approached by the very poorest ; taking up little 
children in His arms, in the most tender, gentle, win- 
ning way ; drying the widow's tears ; soothing the 
stricken and sorrowing heart; feeding the hungry, 
healing the sick ; cleansing the poor leper ; meeting 
every Torm of human need and misery ; at the bid- 
ding of all who stood in need of succour and sympathy. 
" He went about doing good." He was the unwearied 
servant of man's necessities. He never thought of 
Himself, or sought His own interest in any one thing. 
He lived for others. It was His meat and drink to 
do the will of God, and gladden the sad and weary 
hearts of the sons and daughters of men. His loving 
heart was ever flowing out in streams of blessing to 
all who felt the pressure of this sin-stricken, sorrowful 

Here, then, we have a marvellous fact before our 
eyes. This world has been visited — this earth has been 
trodden by that blessed One of v/hom we have spoken 
— the Son of God — the Creator and sustainer of the 
universe — the lowly, self-emptied, and loving, gracious 
Son of man — Jesus of Nazareth — God over all,blessed 
for ever, and yet a spotless, holy, absolutely perfect 
man. He came in love to men — came into this world 
as the expression of perfect love to those who had 
sinned against God, and deserved nothing but eternal 
perdition because of their sins. He came not to crush 
but to heal — not to judge but to save and to bless. 

What has become of this blessed One? How has the 
World treated Him? It has cast Him out! It would 
not have Him ! It preferred a robber and a murderer 
to this holy, gracious, perfect man. The world got its 
choice. Jesus and a robber were placed before the 
world, and the question was put, "Which will you 
have?" What was the answer? "Not this man, but 



Barabbas." "The chief priests and elders persuaded 
the multitude that they should ask Barabbas and de- 
stroy Jesus. The governor answered and said unto 
them, Whether of the twain will ye that I release unto 
you? They said, Barabbas." (Matt, xxvii, 20, 21.) 
The religious leaders and guides of the people — the 
men who ought to have led them in the right way — 
persuaded the poor ignorant multitude to reject the 

Reader, remember, you are in a world that has been 
guilty of this terrible act. And not only so, but, unless 
you have truly repented and believed on the Lord Jesus 
Christ, you are part and parcel of that world, and you 
lie under the full guilt of that act. This is most solemn. 
The whole world stands charged with the deliberate 
rejection and murder of the Son of God. We have the 
testimony of no less than four inspired witnesses to this 
fact. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, all bear record 
that the whole world — the Jew and theOentile — kings 
and governors, priests and people — all classes, sects, 
and parties agreed to crucify the Son of God—all 
agreed to murder the only perfect man that ever lived 
onthis earth— theperfect expression of God— God over 
all,blessed for ever. We must either pronounce the four 
evangeliststobefalse witnesses, or admit thatthe world 
as a whole and each constituent partthereof,is stained 
with the awful crime of crucifying the Lord of glory. 

This is the true standard by which to measure the 
world, and by which to measure the condition of every 
unconverted man, woman, and child in the world. If 
I want to know what the world is, Miave only to re- 
flect that the world is that which stands charged be- 
fore God with the deliberate murder of His Son. Tre- 
mendous fact! A fact which stamps the world, in 
the most solemn manner, and places it before us in 
characters of appalling blackness. God has a contro- 
versy with this world. He has a question to settle with 
it — an awful question — the mere mention of which 
should make men's ears to tingle and their hearts to 




quake. A righteous God has to avenge the death of 
His Son. It is not merely that the world accepted a 
vile robber and murdered an innocent man ; this, in 
itself, would have been a dreadful act. But no; that 
innocent man was none other than the Son of God, 
the beloved of the Father's heart. 

What a thought ! The world will have to account 
to God for the death of His Son — for having nailed 
Him to a cross between two thieves! What a reckon- 
ing it will be ! How red will be the day of vengeance ! 
How awfully crushing the moment in the which God 
will draw the sword of judgment to avenge the death 
of His Son I How utterly vain the notion that the 
world is improving! Improving! — though stained 
with the blood of Jesus. Improving! — though under 
the judgment of God for that act. Improving ! — 
though having to account to a righteous God for its 
treatment of the beloved of His soul, sent in love to 
bless and save. What blind fatuity ! What wild folly! 
Ah, no! reader, improvement there can be none till 
the besom of destruction and the sword of judgment 
have done their terrible work in avenging the mur- 
der — the deliberately planned and determinedly exe- 
cuted murder of the blessed Son of God. We cannot 
conceive any delusion more fatally false than to im- 
agine that the world can ever be improved while it 
lies beneath the awful curse of the death of Jesus. 
That world which preferred Barabbas to Christ can 
know no improvement. There is naught before it 
save the overwhelming judgment of God. 

Thus much m to the weighty fact of the absence of 
Jesus, in its bearing upon the present condition and 
future destiny of the world. But this fact has another 
bearing. It bears upon the church of God as a whole, 
and upon the individual believer. If the world has cast 
Christ out, the heavens have received Him. I f man has 
rejected Him, God has exalted Him. If man has 
crucified Him, God has crowned Him. We must care- 
fully distinguish these two things. The death of Christ, 




viewed as the act of the world — the act of man — in- 
volves nought but unmitigated wrath and judgment. 
Gp the other hand the death of Christ, viewed as the 
act of God, involves nought bat full and everlasting 
blessedness to all who repent and believe. A passage 
or two from the divine word will prove this. 

Let us turn, for a moment, to Psalm Ixix. which so 
vividly presents our blessed and adorable Lord suffer- 
ing from the hand of man, and appealing to God for 
vengeance. "Hear, me, O Lord ; for thy loving-kind- 
ness is good ; turn unto me according to the multitude 
of thy tender mercies. And hide not thy face from 
thy servant ; for I am in trouble : hear me speedily : 
draw nigh unto my soul, and redeem it : deliver me, 
because of mine enemies. Thou hast known my re- 
proach, and my shame, and my dishonour : mwe ad- 
versaries are all before thee. Reproach hath broken 
my heart, and I am full of heaviness: and I looked 
for some to take pity, but there was none ; and for 
comforters, but I found none. They gave me also 
gall for my meat, and in my thirst they gave me 
vinegar to drink. Let their table become a snare 
before them : and that which should have been for 
their welfare, let it become a trap. Let their eyes be 
darkened, that they see not ; and make their loins 
continually to shake. Pour out thine indignation 
upon them, and let thy wrathful anger take hold of 
them>'' &c. (Verse 16-28.) 

All this is deeply and impressively solemn. Every 
word of this appeal will have its answer. Not a syl- 
lable of it shall fall to the ground. God will assured- 
ly avenge the death of His Son. He will reckon 
with the world — with man for the treatment which 
His only begotten Son has received at their hands. 
We deem it right to press this home upon the heart 
and conscience of the reader. How awful the thought 
of Christ making intercession against v^^g^X^ ! How 
appalling to hear Him calling upon God for venge- 
ance upon His enemies! How terrible will be 


the divine response to the cry of the injured Son! 

But let us look on the other side of the picture. 
Turn to Psalm xxii. which presents the blessed One 
suffering under the hand of God. Here the result is 
wholly different. Instead of judgment and vengeance, 
it is universal and everlasting blessedness and glory. 
" I will declare thy name unto my brethren ; m the 
midst of the congregation will I praise thee. Ye that 
fear the Lord, praise Him ; all ye the seed of Jacob, 
glorify Him ; and fear Him, all ye the seed of Israel 
.... My praise shall be of thee in the great con- 
gregation ; I will pay my vows before them that fear 
H im. The meek shall eat and be satisfied ; they shall 
praise the Lord that seek Him : your heart shall live 
for ever. All the ends of the world shall remember 
and turn unto the Lord ; and all the kindreds of the 
nations shall worship before thee. For the kingdom 
is the Lord's ; and He is the Governor among the na- 
tions. . . A seed shall serve Him; it shall be accounted 
to the Lord for a generation. They shall come, and 
shall declare His righteousness unto a people that 
shall be bom, that He hath done this." (Verse 22-3 1 .) 

These two quotations present, with great distinct- 
ness, the two aspects of the death of Christ. He died, 
as a martyr, for righteousness, under the hand of man. 
For this man will have to account to God. But He 
died, as a victim, for sin, under the hand of God. 
This is the foundation of all blessing to those that 
believe in His name. His martyr-sufferings bring 
down wrath and judgment upon a godless world : 
His atoning sufferings open up the everlasting well- 
springs of life and salvation to the church, to Israel, 
and to the whole creation. The death of Jesus con- 
summates the world's guilt, but secures the church's 
acceptance. The world is stained^ and the church 
purged^ by the blood of the cross. 

Such is the double bearing of the first of ourthre^ 
g^eat New Testament facts. Jesus has come and gone 
— come, because God loved the world — gone, because 


the world hated God. If God were to ask the question 
— and He will ask it — "What have you done with my 
Son?" What Is the answer? "We hated Him, cast Him 
out, and crucified Him. We preferred a robber to Him." 

But, blessed for ever be the God of all grace, the 
Christian, the true believer, can look up to heaven and 
say, " My absent Lord is there, and there for me. He 
is gone from this wretched world, and His absence 
makes the entire scene around me a moral wilder- 
ness — a desolate waste." 

He is not here. This stamps the world with a cha- 
racter unmistakable in the judgment of every loyal 
heart. The world would not have Jesus. This is 
enough. We need not marvel at any tale of horror 
now. Police reports, grand jurv calendars, the statis- 
tics of our cities and towns need not surprise us. The 
world that could reject thedlvine personification of all 
human goodness, and accept a robber and a murderer 
instead,has proved its moral turpitude to a degree not 
to be exceeded. Do we wonder when we discover the 
hollowness and heartlessness of the world ? Are we 
surprised when we find out that it is not to be trusted ? 
If so, it is plain we have not interpreted aright the ab- 
sence of our beloved Lord. What does the cross of 
Christ prove? That God is love? No doubt. That 
Christ gave Hisprecious life to save us from the flames 
of an everlasting hell? Blessedly true, all praise to 
His peerless name! But what does the cross prove as 
regards the world? That its guilt is consummated,and 
its judgment sealed. The world, in nailing to the 
cross the One who was perfectly good, proved, in the 
most unanswerable manner, that it was perfectly bad. 
** If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had 
not had sin : but now they have no cloke for their sin. 
He that hateth me hateth my Father also. If I had 
not done among them the works v/hich none other 
man did, they had not had sin; but now have they 
both seen and hated both me and my Father. But 
this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled 





1 • 

] i 


that is written in their law, They hated me without 
a cause." (John xv, 22-26.) 

II. But we must now glance, for a moment, at our 
second weighty fact God the Holy Ghost has come 
down to this earth. It is now ov er eighteen long cen- 
turies since the blessed Spirit descended from heaven ; 
and He has been here ever since. This is a stupendous 
fact. There is a divine Person on this earth, and His 
presence — like the absence of Jesus — has a double 
bearing: it has a bearing upon the world, and a bearing 
upon the church — upon the world as a whole, and upon 
every man, woman, and child therein ; upon the church 
as a whole, and upon every individual member thereof 
in particular. As regards the world, this august wit- 
ness descended from heaven to convict it of the terri- 
ble crime of rejecting and crucifying the Son of God. 
As regards the church, He came as the blessed Com- 
forter, to take the place ofthe absent Jesus, and com- 
fort by His presence and ministry the hearts of His 
people. Thus, to the world, the Holy Ghost is a power- 
ful Convictor; to the church He is a precious Comforter, 

A passage or two of holy scripture will establish 
these points in the heart and mind of the pious read- 
er who bows in lowly reverence to the authority of 
the divine word. Let us turn to chapter xvi. of John's 
Gospel. *' But now I go my way to Him that sent 
me; and none of you asketh me. Whither goest thou? 
But because I have said these things unto you, sor- 
row hath filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you 
the truth ; it is expedient for you that I go away : for 
if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto 
you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And 
when He is come, He will convict (cAcy^ct) the world 
of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. Of 
sin, because they believe not on me ; of righteous- 
ness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no 
more; of judgment, because the prince of this world 
is judged." (Verse 5-1 1.) 

Again in John xiv. we read, "If ye love me, keep 


my commandments. And I will pray the Father, 
and He shall give you another Comforter, that He 
may abide with you for ever ; even the Spirit of truth; 
whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth 
Him not, neither knoweth Him : but ye know Him 
for He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."(Verse 

These quotations prove the double bearing of the 
presence of the Holy Ghost. We cannot attempt to 
dwell upon this subject in this brief introduction ; but 
we trust the reader may be led to study it for himself, 
in the light of holy scripture; and we are persuaded 
that the more he thus studies it, the more deeply he 
will feel its interest and immense practical import- 
ance. Alas ! that it should be so little understood ; that 
Christians should so little see what is involved in the 
personal presence of the eternal Spirit, God the Holy 
Ghost, on this earth — its solemn consequences as re- 
gards the world, and its precious results as regards 
the assembly as a whole, and each individual mem- 
ber in particular I 

Oh! that God's people everywhere may be led into 
a deeper understanding of these things; that they may 
consider what is due to that divine Person who dwells 
in them and with them ; that they may have a jealous 
care not to "grieve" Him in their private walk, or 
"quench" Him in their public assemblies!. 

We <^hall, if God permit, enter, in our next paper, 
upon the third fact, which is the immediate subject 
of the series of papers which we propose to write, 
namely. The coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ. May God the Spirit open this most glorious 
subject in living power and freshness to our souls, 
so that we may, in truth and reality, be wafting for 
God's Son from heaven! 




: I t 

f if i 




1 !| 



IN approaching this most glorious subject, we feel 
that we cannot do better than to lay before tlie 
reader the distinct testimony of holy scripture to the 
broad fact itself, that our Lord Jesus Christ will 
come again — that He will leave the place He now 
occupies on His Father's throne, and come in the 
clouds of heaven, to receive His people to Himself; 
to execute judgment upon the wicked ; and set up 
His own everlasting and universal kingdom. 

This fact is as clearly and fully set forth in the New 
Testament as either of the other two facts to which 
we have already referred. It is as true that the Son of 
God is coming from heaven, as that He is gone to 
heaven, or that the Holy Ghost is still on this earth. 
If we admit one fact, we must admit all : and if we 
deny one, we must deny all ; inasmuch as all rest upon 
precisely the same authority. They stand or fall 
together. Is it true that the Son of God was refused, 
cast out, crucified ? Is it true that He has gone away 
into heaven ? Is it true that He is now seated at the 
right hand of God, crowned with glory and honour ? 
Is it true that God the Holy Ghost came down to 
this earth, fifty days after the resurrection of our 
Lord ; and that He is still here ? 

Are these things true ? As true as scripture can 
make them. Then just as true is it that our blessed 
Lord will come again, and set up His kingdom upon 
this earth — that He will literally, and actually and 
personally come from heaven, take to Himself His 
great power and reign from pole to pole, and from 
the river to t'le ends of the earth. 

It may per' apsseem strange to some of our readers 
that we should deem it needful to undertake the proof 
of such a plain truth as this ; but be it remembered 
that we are writing on this subject as though it were 
perfectly new to the reader ; as if he had never heard 




of such a thing as the Lord's second coming ; or as 
if, having heard of it, he still calls it in question. 
This must be ourapology for handling this precious 
theme in so elementary a manner, 

Now for our proofs. 

When our adorable Lord was about to take leave 
of His disciples, He sought, in His infinite grace, to 
comfort their sorrowing hearts by words of sweetest 
tenderness, " Let not your heart be troubled ; ye 
believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's 
house are many mansions ; if it were not so I would 
have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And 
if I go and prepare a place for you, / will co7ne again^ 
and receive you unto myself ; that where I am, there 
ye may be also." (John xiv, 1-3.) 

Here we have something most definite. Indeed 
it is as definite as it is cheering and consolatory. '*I 
^ill come M^ain." He does not say, I will send for 
you. Still less does He say, "You will come to me 
when you die.'* He says nothing of the kind. To 
send an angel, or a iegion of angels, would not be the 
•same thing as coming Himself, No doubt it would 
be very gracious of Him, and very glorious for us, if 
a multitude of the heavenly host were sent, with 
horses of fire and chariotsof fire, to co n vey us triumph- 
antly to heaven. But it would not be the fulfilment 
of His own sweet promise, and most surely He will 
do what He promised to do. He will not say one 
thing and do another. He cannot lie or alter His 
word. And not only this, but it would not satisfy 
the love of His heart to send an angel or a host of 
angels to fetch us. He will come Himself. 

What touching grace shines in all this 1 If I am 
expecting a very dear and valued friend by train, I 
shall not be satisfied with sending a servant or an 
empty cab to meet him ; I shall go myself. This is 
precisely what our loving Lord means to do. He is 
gone to heaven, and his entrance there prepares and 
'defines His people's place. Amid the many mansions 




i M 

of the Father's house, there would be no place for us 
if our Jesus had not gone before ; and then, lest there 
should be in the heart any feeling of strangeness at 
the thought of our entrance into that place, He says, 
with such sweetness, "I will come again, and receive 
you unto myself ; that where I am, there ye maybe 
also." Nothing short of this can fulfil the gracious 
promise of our Lord, or satisfy the love of His heart. 

And be it carefully noted that this promise has no 
reference whatever to the death of the individual 
believer. Who can imagine that, when our Lord said, 
"I will come again," He really meant that we should 
go to Him through death? How can we presume to 
take such liberties with the plain and precious words 
of our Lord ? Surely if He meant to speak of our 
going to Him, through death. He could and would 
have said so ; but He has not said so, because He 
did not mean so ; nor is it possible that He could 
say one thing and mean another. His coming for us, 
and our going to Him, are totally different things ; 
and being different ideas, they would have been 
clothed in different language. 

Thus, for example, in the case of the penitent thief 
on the cross, our Lord does not speak of coming to 
fetch him ; but He says, "To-day shalt thou be with 
me in paradise." We really must remember that 
scripture is as divinely definite as it is divinely in- 
spired, and hence it never could and it never does 
confound two things so totally different as the Lord's 
coming and the Christian's falling asleep. 

It may be well, at this point, to remark that there 
are but four passages in the entire New Testament 
in which allusion is made to the subject of the Chris- 
tian passing through the article of death. The first is 
that passage in Luke xxiii. already referred to : 'To- 
day shalt thou be with me in paradise.'* The second 
occurs in Acts vii., "Lord Jesu3, receive my spirit." 
The third is that most familiar and lovely utterance 
in 2 Corinthians v,, "Absent fromdie body, present 



for us 


less at 

with the Lord." The fourth occurs in that charming 
first of Philippians, "Having a desire to depart, and 
to be with Christ ; which is far better.'* 

These most precious passages make up the sum of 
scripture testimony on the interesting question of 
the disembodied state. There is a passage in Revela- 
tion xiv. often misapplied to this subject : "Blessed 
are the dead which die in the hord from henceforth: 
Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their 
labours ; and their works do follow them." But this 
has no application to Christians now, though no 
doubt all such who die in the Lord are blessed, and 
their works do follow them. The reference, however, 
is to a time yet future, when the church shall have 
left this scene altogether, and other witnesses make 
their appearance. In a word, Revelation xiv, 13 
bears upon apocalyptic times, and must be so viewed 
if we would avoid confusion. 

We must now resume our subject, and proceed with 
our proofs, and in so doing, we shall ask the reader to 
turn to the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. 
The blessed Lord had just gone up from this earth, 
in the presence of His holy apostles. "And while they 
looked steadfastly toward heaven, as He went up,be- 
hold,two men stood by them in white apparel; which 
also said. Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up 
into heaven ? This same Jesus, which is taken up 
from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner 
as ye have seen Him go into heaven ?" (Verses 10, 11.) 

This is intensely interesting, and furnishes a most 
striking proof of our present thesis. Indeed it is 
impossible to avoid its force. Alas! that any should 
seek or desire to avoid it ! From the manner in which 
the angelic witnesses speak to the men of Galilee, it 
would seem likie tautology ; but, as we well know, there 
is — there can be— no such thing in the volume of God. 
It is therefore lovely fulness, divine completeness, that 
we see in this testimony. From it we learn that the 
selfsame Jesus who left this earth, and ascended into 



I I. 

- • it 


heaven, in the presence of a number of witnesses, 
shall so come in /tke manner as they had seen Him go 
into heaven. HowdidHego? He went up personally, 
literally, actually, the very same person who had just 
been conversing familiarly with them — whom they 
had seen with their eyes, heard with their ears, han- 
dled with their hands — who had eaten in their 
presence, and "shewed Himself alive after His pas- 
sion, by many infallible proofs." Well then, " He 
shall so come in like manner." 

*' He who with hands uplifted, 
Went from this earth below, 
Shall come again all gifted, 
His blessing to bestow.'' 

And here we may ask — though it be rather antici- 
pating what may come before us in a future paper — 
Who saw the blessed Lord as He went up ? Did the 
world? Nay; not one unconverted, unbelieving per- 
son ever laid his eyes upon our precious Lord, from 
the moment that He was laid in the tomb. The last 
sight the world got of Jesus was as He hung on the 
cross, a spectacle to angels, men, and devils. The next 
sight they will get of Him will be when, like the light- 
ning flash. He shall come forth to execute judgment, 
and tread, in terrible vengeance, the winepress of the 
wrath of Almighty God. Tremendous thought ! 

None, thereK>re, but His own saw the ascending 
Saviour, as none but they had seen Him from the 
moment of His resurrection. He shewed Himself, 
blessed be His holy Name ! to those who were dear 
to His heart. He assured and comforted, strengthen- 
ed and encouraged their souls by these "many in- 
fallible proofs" of which the inspired narrator speaks 
to us. He led them to the very confines of the un- 
seen world, just so far as men could go while still in 
the body ; and there He allowed them to see Him 
ascending into heaven ; and while they gazed upon 
this glorious sight, He sent the precious testimony 
home to their very hearts. '^This same Jesus" — no 



Other, no stranger, but the same loving, sympathiz- 
ing, gracious, unchanging friend — " whom ye have 
seen go into heaven, shall so come in like manner 
as ye have seen Him go into heaven." 

Is it possible for testimony to be more distinct or 
satisfactory? Could proof be more clear or conclu- 
sive ? How can any counter argument stand for a 
moment, or any objection be raised ? Either those 
two men in white apparel were false witnesses, or our 
Jesus shall come again in the exact manner in which 
He went away. There is no middle ground between 
those two conclusions. We read in scripture that, 
" in the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every 
word be established ;" and therefore in the mouth of 
two heavenly messengers — two heralds from the 
regions of light and truth, we have the word estab- 
lished that our Lord Jesus Christ shall come again 
in actual bodily form, to be seen by His own first of 
all, apart from all others, in the holy intimacy and 
profound retirement which characterized His depart- 
ure from this world. All this, blessed be God, is 
wrapped up in the two little words "^5" and "j^." 

We cannot attempt, in a brief paper like the pres- 
ent, to adduce, all the proofs which are to be found in 
the pages of the New Testament. We have given one 
from the Gospels and one from the Acts, and we shall 
now ask the reader to turn with us to the Epistles. 
Let us take, for example, the First Epistle to the 
Thessalonians. We select this Epistle because it is 
acknowledged to have been the earliest of Paul's 
writings; and further, because it was written to a 
company of very young converts. This latter point 
is valuable, inasmuch as we sometimes hear it stated 
that the truth of the Lord's coming is not suitable to 
bring before the minds of young believers. That the 
Apostle Paul did not think it unsuitable is evident 
from the fact that of all the Epistles which he wrote 
not one contains so much about the Lord's coming 
as that which he penned for the newly converted 


1 i 

i. ' 








1? 5T8r 



Thessalonians. The fact is, when a soul is converted 
and brought into the full light and liberty of the 
gospel of Christ, it becomes oi vinely natural for such 
a one to look for the Lord's coming. That most pre- 
cious truth is an integral part of the gospel. The first 
coming and the second coming are most blessedly 
bound up together by the divine link of the personal 
presence of the Holy Ghost in the church. 

On the other hand, where the soul is not establish- 
ed in grace ; where peace and liberty are not enjoyed ; 
where a defective gospel has been received, there it 
will be found that the hope of the Lord's coming 
will not be cherished, for the simple reason that the 
soul is, of necessity, occupied with the question of its 
own state and prospects. If I am not certain of my 
salvation — if I do not know that I have eternal life 
— that I am a child of God, I cannot be looking out 
for the Lord's return. It is only when we know 
what Jesus has done for us at His first coming, that 
we can, with bright and holy intelligence, look out 
for His second coming. 

But let us turn to our Epistle. Take the following 
sentences from the first chapter : "For our gospel 
came not unto you in word only, but also in power, 
and in the Holv Ghost, and in much assurance. . . . 
So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Mace- 
donia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the 
word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, 
but also in every place your faith to God-ward is 
spread abroad ; so that we need not to speak any- 
thing. For they themselves shew of us what manner 
of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned 
to God from idols to serve the living and true God ; 
and to wait /or His Son pom heaven^ whom He raised 
from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us froni 
the wrath to come." (Verses 5-10.) 

Here we have a fine illustration of the effect of a 
fullclear gospel, received in simple earnest faith."They 
turned from idols, to serve the living and true God, and 



of the 
St pic- 
le first 

joyed ; 
[lere it 
lat the 
n of its 
of my 
lal life 
ng out 
: know 
ig, that 
►ok out 


v^» • • ■ 

I Mace- 
out the 
yard is 
k any- 
e God; 
e raised 
us from 

ect of a 

to wait for His Son. They were actually converted 
to the blesed hope of the Lord's coming. It was an 
integral part of the gospel which Paul preached ; and 
an integral part of their faith. Was it a reality to turn 
from idols ? Doubtless. Was it a reality to serve the 
living God ? Unquestionably. Well then it was just 
asrealjust as positive, just as simple, their waiting for 
God's Son from heaven. If we question the reality of 
one, we must question the reality of all, inasmuch as 
allare bound up together,andformdbeauteouscluster 
of practical christian truth. If you had asked aThessa- 
lonian Christian what he was waiting for, what would 
have been his reply ? Would he have said, "I am 
waiting for the world to improve by means of the gos- 
pel which I myself have received?" or, "I am waiting 
for the moment of my death when I shall go to be with 
Jesus?" No. Hisreply would have been simply this, 
"I am waiting for the Son of God from heaven." This, 
and nothing else, is the proper hope of the Christian, 
the proper hope of the church. To wait for the im- 
provement of the world is not Christian hope at all. 
You might as well wait for the improvement of the 
flesh, for there is just as much hope of the one as the 
other. And as to the article of death — though no 
doubt it may intervene — it is never once presented as 
the true and proper hope of the Christian. It may, 
with the fullest confidence, be asserted that there is 
not so much as a single passage in the entire New 
Testament in which death is spoken of as the hope of 
the believer ; whereas, on the other hand, the hope of 
the Lord's coming is bound up, in the most intimate 
manner, with all the concerns and associations and 
relationships of life, as we may see in the Epistle 
before us. Thus, if the apostle would refer to the 
interesting question of his own personal connection 
with the beloved saints at Thessalonica, he says, ''For 
what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing ? Are 
not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ 
at his coming ? For ye are our glory and joy." 




1 1 


■ 1 
1 1 1 

' ll 

1 ' 



1 i : il 






A^fiin, if he thinks of their progress in hoh'ness and 
love, he adds, "And the Lord make you to increase 
and abound in love one toward another, and toward 
all men, even as we do toward you ; to the end he 
may stablish your hearts unblamable in holiness be- 
fore God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord 
Jesus Christ Wx'&i all his saints." (Chap, iii, I2, 13.) 

Finally, if the apostle would seek to comfort the 
hearts of his brethren in reference to those who had 
fallen asleep, how does he do it ? Docs he tell them 
that they should soon follow them ? Nay ; this would 
have been in full keeping with Old Testament times, 
as David says of his departed child, "I shall go to him, 
but he shall not return to me." (2 Sam. xii, 23.) But 
it is not thus that the Holy Ghost instructs us in 
I Thessalonians — quite the reverse. "I would not," 
He says, *'have you to be ignorant, brethren, con- 
cerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, 
even as others which have no hope. For if wc believe 
that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also 
which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him. For 
this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that 
(not they which shall be, but] zt'^ which are alive and 
remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent 
[come before or take precedence of] them which are 
asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from 
heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, 
and with the trump of God : and the dead in Christ 
shall rise first. Then we which are alive and remain 
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to 
meet the Lord in the air : and so shall we ever be with 
the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these 
words." (Chap, iv, 13-18.) 

It is impossible for any proof to be more simple, 
direct, and conclusive than this. The Thessalonian 
Christians, as we have already remarked, were con- 
verted to the hope of the Lord's return. They were 
taught to look out for it daily. It was as much a part 
,of their Christianity to believe that He would covne^ as 

; i 



to believe that He lufd coxwii and ^onc. Hence it came 
to pass that when some of their number were called to 
pass through death, they were taken aback ; they had 
not anticipated this ; and they feared lest the departed 
should miss the joy of that blissful and longed-for 
moment of the Lord's return. The apostle therefore 
Writes to correct their mistake ; and, in so doing, he 
pours a fresh flood of light upon the v\ hole subject, 
and assures them that the dead in Christ — which in- 
cludes all who had or shall have fallen asleep ; in 
short, those of Old Testament times as well as those of , 
the New — should rise first, that is, before the li\ ing 
are changed, and all shall ascend together to meet 
their decending Lord. 

We shall have occasion to refer to this remarkable 
passage again, when handling other branches of this 
glorious subject. We merely quote it here as one of 
the alm.ost innumerable proofs oi the fact that our 
Lord will come again, personally, really, and actually ; 
and that this His personal coming is the true and 
proper hops of the church of God collectively, and 
of the believer individually. 

We shall close this paper by reminding the christian 
reader that he can never sit down to the table of his 
Lord without being reminded of this glorious hope, so 
long as those words shine on the page of inspiration 
"For as aften as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, 
ye do shew the Lord's death till" — when ? Till ye 
die? Nay; but — ''till He co?ne'' (i Cor. xi,26.) How 
precious is this! The table of the Lord stands between 
those two marvellous epochs, the cross and the ad- 
vent—the death and the glory. The believer can look 
up from the table and seethe beams of the glory gild- 
ing the horizon. It is our privilege, as we gather, on 
each Lord's day, round the Lord's table, to shew forth 
the Lord's death, to be able to say, "This may be the 
last occasion of celebrating this precious feast. Ere 
another Lord's day dawn upon us. He Himself may 
come." Again we sa>% How precious is this ! 


> 111" 

1 ' I 


Bl ' 

: \ 



HAVING, as we trust, fully established, in our last 
paper, the fact of the Lord's coming, we have 
now to place before the reader the double bearing of 
that fact— its bearing upon the Lord's people, and its 
bearing U[)on the world. The former is presented, 
ill the New Testament, as the coming of Christ to 
receive His people to Himself; the latter is spoken 
of as **The day of the Lord" — a term of frequent use 
also in Old Testament scriptures. 

These things are never confounded in scripture, as 
We shall see when we come to look at the various 
passages. Christians do confound them, and hence it 
is that we often find "that blessed hope" overcast 
with heavy clouds, and associated in the mind with 
circumstances of terror, wrath, and judgment, which 
have nothing whatever to do with the coming oi 
Christ for His people, but are intimately bound up 
with "The day of the Lord." 

Let the christian reader, then, have it settled in his 
heart, on the clear authority of holy scripture, that the 
grand and specific hope for him ever to cherish is the 
coming of Christ for His people. This hope maybe 
realized this very night. There is nothing whatever to 
Wait for— *no events to transpire amongst the nations 
—nothing to occur in the history of Israel — nothing in 
God's government of the world — nothing, in Short, in 
any shape or form whatsoever, to intervene between 
the heart of the true believer and his heavenly hope. 
Christ may come for His people to-night. There is 
actually nothing to hinder. No one can tell when He 
will come ; but we can joyfully say that, at any mo- 
ment. He may come. And, blessed be His Name when 
He does come for us, it will not be with the accom- 
pany ing circu mstances of terror, wrath, and judgment. 
It will not be with blackness and darkness and tem- 
pest These things will accompany "the day of the 



I^rd,"as the Aposle Peter plainly tells the Jews in hin 
first great sermon, on the day of Pentecost, in which 
he quotes the following words from the solemn proph- 
ecy of Joel, "iind 1 will shew wonders in heaven 
above, and signs in the earth beneath ; blood and fire 
and vapour of smoke : the sun shall be turned into 
darkness, and the moon into blood, before" — what ? 
the coming of the Lord for His people? Nay : hut 
before '''that great and noUible day of the Lord come." 

When our Lord shall come to receive His people to 
Himself, no eye shall see Him, no ear shall near His 
voice, save His own redeemed and beloved people* 
Let us remember the words of the angelic witnesses in 
the first of Acts. Who saw the blessed One ascending 
into the heaven ? None but His own. Well, "He 
shall so come in like manner, as ye have seen Him ^o 
into heaven." As was the going, so shall be the com- 
ing, if we are to bow to scripture. To confound the 
day of the Lord with His coming for His church is 
to overlook the plainest teachings of scripture, and 
to rob the believer of his own true and proper hope. 

And here perhaps we cannot do better than to call 
the attention of the reader to a very important and in- 
teresting passage in the second Epistle of Peter: "For 
we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when 
we made known unto you the power and coming of 
Our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eye-witnesses of his 
majesty. For he received from God the Father honour 
and glory, when there came such a voice to him from 
the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom 
I am well pleased. And this voice which came from 
heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy 
mount We have also the word of prophecy more 
sure [or confirmed], whereunto ye do well that ye take 
heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, 
until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your 
hearts." (Chap, i, 16-19.) 

This passage demands the reader^s most attentive 
consideration. It sets forth, in the clearest possible 




t I 




1 j. i 


* , 

> ,1 U 


Hi ;< 

manner, the distinction between "the word of pro 
phecy" and the proper hope of the Christian, namely, 
"the morning star.' We must remember that the 
great subject of prophecy is God's government of the 
world in connection with the seed of Abraham. "When 
the most High divided to the nations their inheritance, 
when he separated the sons of Adam, he set the 
bounds of the people according to the number of the 
children of Israel. For the Lord sportion in his people; 
Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." (Deut. xxxii, 8, 9.) 

Here then is the scope and theme of prophecy — 
Israel and. the nations. Achildcan understand this. 
If we range through the prophets, from the opening 
of Isaiah to the close of Malachi, we shall not find so 
much as a single line about the church of God — its 
position, its portion, or its prospects. No doubt the 
word of prophecy is deeply interesting, and most pro- 
fitable for the Christian to study ; but it will be all this 
just in proportion as he understands its proper scope 
and object, and sees how it stands in contrast with 
his own special hope. We may fearlessly assert that 
it is utterly impossible for anyone to study the Old 
Testament prophecies aright who does not clearly 
see the true place of the church. 

We cannot attempt to enter upon the subject of the 
Church, in this brief paper. It has been repeatedly 
referred to and unfolded elsewhere, and we can now 
merely ask the reader to weigh and examine the 
statement which we here deliberately make, namely, 
that there is not so much as a single syllable about the 
church of God, the body of Christ, from cover to cover 
of the Old Testament. Types, shadows, illustrations, 
there are, which, now that vve have the full-orbed light 
of the New Testament, we can see, understand, and 
appreciate. But it was not possible for any Old Testa- 
ment believer to see the great mystery of Christ and 
the church, inasmuch as it was not revealed. The 
inspired apostle expressly tells us that it was *7«'^," 
not in the Old Testament scriptures, but * 'in God,'* as 



we read, in Ephesians iii., "And to make all men see 
what is the fellowship [or rather the administration] of 
the mystery, which from the beginning of the world 
hath been hid in G<?^/, who created all things by Jesus 
Christ." (Verse 9.) So also in Colossians, we read, 
"Even the mystery which hath becfi hid irovn ages 
and from generations, but now is made manifest to 
his saints." (Chap, i, 26.) 

These two passages establish the truth of our state- 
ment, beyond all question, for those who are willing to 
be governed.absolutcly by the authority of holy scrip- 
ture ; they teach us that the great mystery — Christand 
the church— is not to be found in the Old Testament. 
Where have we, in the Old Testament, a word about 
Jews and Gentiles forming one body, and being united 
by the Holy Ghost tea living Head in heaven ? How 
could such a thing possibly be so long as "the middle 
wall of partition" stood as an insuperable barrier be- 
tween the circumcised and the uncircumcised? If 
one were asked to name a special feature of the old 
economy, he would at once reply, "The rigid separa- 
tion of Jew and Gentile." On the other hand, if he 
were asked to name a special feature of the church, 
or Christianity he would as readily reply, "The inti- 
mate union of Jew and Gentile in one body," In short, 
the two conditions stand in vivid contrast, and it was 
wholly impossible that both could hold good at the 
same time. So long as the middle wall of partition 
stood, the truth of the church could not be revealed ; 
but the death of Christ having thrown down that 
wall, the Holy Ghost descended from heaven to form 
the one body, and link it, by His presence and in- 
dwelling, to the risen and glorified Head in the 
heavens. Such is the great mystery of Christ and 
the church, for which there could be no less a basis 
than accomplished redemption. 

Now, we entreat the reader to examine this matter 
for himself. Let him search the scriptures to see if 
these things be indeed true. This is the only way to 




1 1'^i 


! ■ i 

get at the truth. We must lay aside all our own 
thoughts and reasonings, our prejudices and predilec- 
tions, and come, like a little child, to the holy scrip- 
tures. In this way we shall learn the mind of God 
on this most precious and interesting subject. We 
shall find that the church of God, the body of Christ, 
did not exist, as a fact, until after the resurrection 
and ascension of Christ, and the consequent descent 
of the Holy Ghost, on the day Pentecost. And, 
further, we shall find that the full and glorious doctrine 
of the church was not brought out until the days of the 
Apostle Paul. (Compare Rom. xvi, 25, 26; Eph. i,-iii. ; 
Col. i, 25-29.) Finally, we shall see that the actual 
and unmistakable boundary lines of the church's 
earthly history are Pentecost, Acts ii., and the rapture 
or taking up of the saints,(l Thessalonians iv, 13-17.) 

Thus we reach a position from which we can get a 
view of the church's proper hope ; and that hope is, 
most assuredly, "the bright and morning star. Of 
this hope the Old Testament prophets utter not a 
syllable. They speak largely and clearly of "The day 
of the Lord" — a day of judgment upon the world and 
its ways. (See Isaiah ii, 12-22 and parallel scriptures.) 
But "the day of the Lord" with all its attendant cir- 
cumstances of wrath, judgment, and terror, must never 
be confounded with His coming for His people. When 
our blessed Lord comes/^rHis people, there will be 
nothing to terrify. He will come in all the sweetness 
and tenderness of His love, to receive His loved and 
redeemed people to Himself. He will come to finish 
up the precious story of His grace. **To them that 
look for Him shall He appear (o</>^>;orcTai) the second 
time, without [that is, apart from all question of] sin. 
unto salvation." (Heb. ix.)* He will come as a Bride- 
groom to receive the bride ; and when He thus comes, 

* The clause, "Them that look for Him" refcsrs to all believers. It does 
not mean, as somo sui)posi3, those only who hold the truth of the Lord's 
second cominf?. This would make our place with Christ at His coming 



none but His own shall hear His voice or see His 
face. If He were to come this very night for His 
people — and He may, for aught we know — if the 
voice of the archangel and the trump of God were to 
be heard to-night, then all the dead m Christ — all who 
have been laid to sleep by Jesus — all the saints of 
God, both those of Old Testament and New Testa- 
ment times, who lie sleeping in our cemeteries and 
graveyards, or in the ocean's depths — all these would 
rise from their temporary sleep. All the living saints 
would be changed, in a moment, and all would be 
caught up to meet their descending Lord, and return 
with Him to the Father's house. John xiv, 3 ; I 
Thess. iv, 16, 17 ; I Cor. xv 51, 52. 

This is what is meant by the rapture or catching 
up of the saints, and has nothing to do directly with 
Israel or the nations. It is the distinct and only proper 
hope of the church ; and there is not so much as a 
single hint of it in the entire Old Testament. If any 
one asserts that there is, let him produce it. If there 
be such a thing, nothing is easier than to furnish it. 
We solemnly and deliberately declare there is no such 
thing. For all that respects the church — its standing, 
its calling, its portion, its prospects — we must turn to 
the pages of the New Testament, and, of those pages, 
mainly to the Epistles of Paul. To confound "the 
word of prophecy" with the hope of the church is to 
damage the truth of God, and mislead the souls of His 
people. That the enemy has succeeded in doing all 
this, throughout the length and bredth of the profess- 
ing church, is, alas ! too true. And hence it is that so 


It does 



dependent upon knowledge, instead of ai)on our union with Him i>y tiie 
presence and power of tiie Holy Gliost. Tlie Spirit of God, in tlio alxjve 
passage, most graciously takes for granted tliat all God's people are look- 
ing, in some way or another, for the prwious Saviour ; and verily so they 
are. They may not see eye to eye as to all the details. They may not 
enjoy equal clearness of view or depth and fulness of apprehension ; hut, 
most surely, they would all be glad, at any moment, to see the One who 
loved them and gave Himself for thenu 



vciy few Christians have really scriptural thoughts 
about the comini^ of their Lord. They arc looking; 
into prophecy for the church's hope — they confound 
"the Sun of righteousness" with "the Morning Star" 
— they mix up the coming of Christ y^r His people, 
and His coming ivitJi them — they make His "com- 
ing" or "state of presence" to be identical with His 
"appearing" or "manifestation." 

All this is a most serious mistake, agtJnst which we 
desire to warn our readers. When Christ comes with 
His people, "every eye shall see Him." When He is 
manifested, His people will be manifested also^ 
"When Christ our life shall appear [or be manifestedjy 
then shall ye also appear with Plim in glory." (Col. iiiy 
4.) When Christ comes to execute judgment, His 
saints come with Him. "Behold, the Lord Cometh W///^ 
ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon 
all." (Jude 14, 15.) So also in Revelation xix.^the rider 
on the white horse is followed by the armies in heaven 
upon white horses, clothed in fine Hnen, white and 
clean. These armies are not arrgels, but saints ; for 
we do not read of angels being clothed in fine linen, 
which is expressly declared, in this very chapter, to* 
be "the righteousness of saints." (Ver. 8.) 

Now, it is most evident that, if the saints accom- 
pany their Lord when He comes in judgment, they 
must be with Him previously. The fact of their go- 
ing to Him is not presented in the book of Revela- 
tion, unless it be involved— as we doubt n^ot it is — in 
the catcliing up of the man child^in chapter xii. The 
man child is, most surely, Christ ; and inasmuch asi 
Christ and His people are indissolubly joined in one^ 
they are, most completely, identified with Himy 
blessed for ever be His holy and precious name J 

But, clearly, it does not at all lie within the scope of 
the book of Revelation to giveus the coming of Christ 
for His people, or their being caught up to meet Himi 
in the air, or their return to the Father's house. For 
these blessed extents or facts, we must look elsewhere, 





as, for example, in John xiv, 3 ; i Corinthians xv, 23, 
51, 52 ; I Thessalonians iv, 14-17. Let the reader 
ponder those three passages. Let him drink into his 
very soul their clear and precious teaching. There is 
nothing difficult about them, no obscurity, no mist or 
vagueness whatever. A babe in Christ can understand 
them. They set forth in the clearest and simplest 
possible manner, the true christian hope, which — we 
repeat it emphatically, and urge it upon the reader 
as the direct and positive teaching of holy scripture — 
is the coming of Christ to receive His people, all His 
people, to Himself, to take them back with Him to 
His leather's house, thereto remain with Him, while 
God deals governmentally with Israel and the na- 
tions, and prepares the way, by His judicial actings, 
for bringing in the First-begotten into the world. 

Now, if it be asked, "Why have we not the com- 
ing of Christ for His people in the book of Revela- 
tion ?" Because that book is pre-eminently a book 
of judgment — a governmental, judicial book, at least 
from chapter i,-xx. Hence even the church is pre- 
sented as under judgment. We do not see the church 
in chapter ii.and iii. as the body or the bride of Christ; 
butasa responsible witness on the earth, whose condi- 
tion is being carefully examined and rigidly judged 
by Him who walks amongst the candlesticks. 

It would not, therefore, comport with the character 
or object of this book to introduce, directly, the rap- 
ture of the saints. It shews us the church on the earth, 
in the place of responsibility. This at gives us, in 
chapters ii. and iii., under the head of "the things 
that are." But from that to chapter xix. there is not 
a single syllable about the church on earth. The plain 
fact is, the church will not be on earth during that 
solemn period. She will be with her Head and Lord, 
in the divine retirement of the Father's house. The 
redeemed are seen in heaven, under the title of the 
twenty-four crow ncd elders, in chapters iv., v. There, 
blessed be God, they will be, while the seals are bein^ 

1 r 





, '1', 




1 1 i'. 


opened, the trumpets sounded, and the vials poured 
out. To think of the church as being on the earth, 
from Revelation vi. — xviii. — to place her amid the 
apocalyptic judgments — to pass her through "the 
great tribulation" — to subject her to "the hour of 
temptation which shall come upon all the world to 
try them that dwell upon the earth" — would be to 
falsify her position, to rob her of her chat tered privi- 
leges, and to contradict the clear and positive promise 
of her Lord * 

No, no, beloved Christian reader ; let no man deceive 
you, by any means. The church is seen on earth in 
Revelation ii., iii. She is seen in heaven, together 
with the Old Testament saints, in chapter iv., v. We 
are not told, in the Revelation, how she gets there ; 
but we see her there, in high communion and holy 
worship ; and then, in chapter xix. the rider on the 
white horse comes forth, with His saints, to execute 
judgment upon the beast ana the false prophet — to 
put down every enemy and every evil, and to reign 
over the whole earth for the blissful period of a 
thousand years. 

Such is the plain teaching of the New Testament to 
which we earnestly invite the attention of our readers. 
And let no one suppose that our object is to find an 
easy path for ChrisHans in thus teaching, as we do 
most emphatically, that the church will not be in "the 
great tribulation" — will not come into *'the hour of 
temptation." Nothing of the kind. The fact is, the 
true and normal condition of the church, and therefore 
of the individual Christian, in this world, is tribula- 
tion. So says our Lord : "In the world ye shall have 
tribulation." And again, "We glory in tribulation." 

It cannot, therefore, be a question of avoiding that 
which is our appointed portion in this world, if only 



* We ahali have occasion, in a future paper, to shew that, after tho 
church has been removed to heaven, theSiiirit of God will act both amonj^ 
the Jews and also among the Gen tiles. Hee Revelation vii 

"THE coming" and "THE DAY. 


we are true to Christ. But the fact is, that the entire 
truth of the church's position and prospect is involved 
in this question, and this is our reason for urging it 
so upon the prayerful attention of our readers. 

The great object of the enemy is to drag down the 
church of God to an earthly level — to set Christians 
entirely astray as to their divinely appointed hope — 
to lead them to confound things which God has made 
to differ, to occupy them with earthly things — to 
cause them so to mix up the co/m//go( Christ for His 
people, with H xsappcaringm j udgmentupon the world, 
that they may not be able to cultivate those bridal 
affections and heavenly aspirations which become 
them as members of the body of Christ. He would 
fain have them looking out for various earthly events 
to come between them and their ov/n proper hope, 
in order that they may not be — as God would have 
them — ever on the very tip-toe of expectation, look- 
ing out, with ardent desire, for the appearing o^ **the 
bright and morning Star." 

Well doth the enemy know what he is about ; and 
surely we ought not to be ignorant of his devices, but 
rather give ourselves to the study of the word of God, 
and thus learn, as we most surely shall, **the double 
bearing'* of the glorious fact of the Lord's coming. 



WE must now ask the reader to turn with us, for 
a little, to the two Epistles to the Thessalon- 
ians. As we have already remarked, these Christians 
were converted to the blessed hope of the Lord's re- 
turn. They were taught to look for Him day by day. 
It was not merely the doctrine of the advent received 
and held in the mind, but a divine Person constantly 
expected by hearts that had learnt to love Him and 
long for His coming. 

But, as we can easily imagine, the Thessalonian 




papf:rs on the lord s comlvg. 


i ■ 




, ' ' 







i«': i.'l. 

!{-:: :- 


Christians v/crc i<^norant of many things connected 
with this blessed hope. The apostle has beer\ '''taken 
from them for a short time, in presence, not in heart." 
He had not been allowed to remain lon^^ enough them to instruct them in the details of the 
subject of their hope. They knew that Jesus was to 
return — that self-same blessed One v\'ho had gracious- 
ly delivered them from the wrath to come. But as to 
any distinction between His coming /t^r His people, 
and coming iiith them — between His "state of pres- 
ence" and His "appearing" — His**coming" and His 
"day," they were, at the first, wholly ignorant. 

Hence, as might be expected, they fell into various 
errors and mistakes. It is wonderful how speedily 
the human mind wanders away into the wildest and 
grossest confusion and error. We need to be guard- 
ed on all sides by the pure, solid, all-adjusting truth 
of God. We must have our souls evenly balanced 
by dix'ine revelation, else we are sure to plunge into 
all manner of false and foolish notions. Thus some 
of the Thcssalonians conceived the idea of giving up 
their honest callings. They ceased to labour with 
their hands, and went about idle. 

This was a great mistake. Even though we were 
perfectly certain that our Lord would come this very 
night, it would be no reason why we should not, most 
diligently and faithfully, attend to our daily round of 
duty, and do all that devolved upon us in that par- 
ticular sphere in which His good hand has placed us. 
So far from this, the very fact of expecting the blessed 
Master would strengthen our desire to have every- 
thing done as it oi'ghttobe,up to the very moment of 
His return, so that not so much as a single righteous 
claim should be left neglected. In point of fact, the 
hope of the Lord's speedy return, when held in power 
in the soul, is most sanctifying, purifying, and adjust- 
ing in its influence upon christian life, conduct, and 
character. We know, alas! that even this most glori- 
ous truth may be held in the region of the understand- 

"THE coming" and "THE DAY.' 


ing, and flippantly professed with the lips, while the 
heai t and the life, the course, conduct and character, 
remains wholly unaffected by it. But we are expressly 
taught by the inspired Apostle John, that "Every 
man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even 
as he is pure." (i John iii, 3.) And, most surely, this 
"purifying" embraces all that which goes to make up 
our whole practical life, from day to day. 

But there was another grave mistake into which 
those dear Thessalonians fell, and out of which the 
blessed apostle, like a true and faithful pastor, sought 
to recover them. They imagined that their departed 
christian friends would not have part in the joy of 
the Lord's return. They feared that they would fail 
to participate in th:it blissful and longed-for moment. 

Now while it is quite true that this very mistake 
proves how vividly these Christians realized their 
blessed hope, still it was a mistake, and needed to be 
corrected. But let us carefully note the correction : 
"I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, con- 
cerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, 
even as others which have no hope. For if we believe 
that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also 
which sleep in Jesus [or are laid to sleep by Jesus] 
will God bring with him." 

Mark this. He does not seek to comfort these 
sorrowing friends by the assurance that they should, 
ere long, follow the departed. Quite the reverse. 
He assures them that Jesus would bring the departed 
back with Him. I'his is plain and distinct, and 
founded upon the great fact that "Jesus died for us 
and rose again." 

But the apostle does not stop here, but goes on to 
pour a flood of fresh light upon the understanding of 
His dear children in the faith. "For this we say 
unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are 
alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall 
not prevent [or precede] them which are asleep. For 
the Lord Jiimself shall descend from heaven with a 






shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the 
trump of God : and the dead in Christ shall rise first 
[that is, before the living are changed]. Then we 
which are alive and remain shall be caught up to- 
gether with them in [the] clouds, to meet the Lord 
in the air : and so shall we ever be with the Lord. 
Wherefore comfort one another with these words." 

Here, then, we have presented to us what is com- 
monly spoken of amongst us as the rapture of the 
saints — a most glorious, soul-stirring, and enrapturing 
theme surely — the brightest hope of the church of 
God, and of the individual believer. The Lord Nim- 
sei/shaW descend from heaven with a summons de- 
signed only for the ears and the hearts of His own. 
Not one uncircumcised ear shall hear — not one un- 
renewed heart be moved by, that heavenly voice, that 
divine trumpet call. The dead in Christ, including, 
as we believe the Old Testament saints, as well as 
those of the New, who shall have departed in the faith 
of Christ — all those shall hear the blessed sound, and 
come forth from their sleeping places. All the living 
saints shall hear it, and be changed in a moment. 
And oh ! what a change ! The poor crumbling taber- 
nacle of clay exchanged for a glorified body, like 
unto the body of Jesus. 

Lookatyonderbent andwithered frame— that body 
racked with pain, and worn out with years of acute 
suffering. It is the body of a saint. How humiliating 
to see it like that ! Yes ; but wait a little. Let but 
the, trumpet sound, and in one moment that poor 
crushed and withered frame shall be changed, and 
made like to the glorified body of the descending Lord. 

And there, in yonder lunatic asylum, is a poor 
lunatic. He has been there for years. He is a saint 
of God. How mysterious I True ; we cannot fathom 
the mystery ; it lies beyond our present narrow range. 
But so it is ; that poor lunatic is a saint of God, an 
heir of glory. He to shall hear the voice of the 
archangel and the trump of God, and leave his lupaQr 

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**THE coming" and "THE DAY." 33 

behind h im for ever, while he mounts into the heavens, 
in his glorified body, to meet his descending Lord. 

Oh I reader, what a brilliant moment ! How marty 
sick chambers and beds of languishing shall be vacant 
then ! Wliat marvellous changes shall then take place! 
How the heart bounds at the thought, and longs to 
sing, in full chorus, that lovely hymn, •. * 

"Christ, the Lord, will come again, 
None shall wait for Him in vain ; 
I shall then His ^lory see : 
Christ will come and call for me. m* 

"Thojn, when the archangel's voice •- 

Calls the sleeping saints to rise, 
Rising millions shall proclaim 
Blessings on the Saviour's name. 


'This is our redeeming God !' 
Ransomed hosts will shout aloud : 
Praise, eternal praise, be given, 
To the Lord of earth and neaven I " 

Amen and amen ! 

How glorious the thought of those ''rising mil- 
lions!" How truly delightful to be amongst them ! 
How precious the hope of seeing that blessed One who 
loveth us and who gave Himself for us ! Such is the 
hope of the Christian — a hope concerning which there 
is not a single line from cover to cover of the Old 
Testament " The word of prophecy" is of all im- 
portance. We do well to take heed to it. It is an 
unspeakable mercy for those who find themselves in 
a dark place to have a bright lamp to cast its light 
athwart the gloom. But, let the Christian bearin mind, 
that what he wants is to have "the day star arising in 
his heart ;" in other words, to have his whole heart 
governed by the hope of seeing Jesus as the bright and 
morning star. When the heart is thus filled and ruled 
by the proper Christian hope, then the eye can intelli- 
gently scan the prophetic chart : it can take in the 
whole field of prophecy as our God has graciously 

"■.'■I [: 

;, -.I « ■ , 

'li 1 







opened it before us, and find interest and profit in 
every page and in every line. But, on the other hand, 
we may rest assured, that the man who looks into 
prophecy in order to find the church or its hope there, 
nas his face turned the wrong way. He will find "the 
Jew" there ; and "Gentile ' there ; but not "the 
Church of God." We earnestly trust that not one of 
our readers will fail to lay hold of this fact — a fact, 
we m^y safely say, of the very deepest moment. 

But it will perhaps be asked, "Of what use, then, 
IS prophecy ? If indeed it be true that we cannot find 
aught about thechurch on the prophetic page, of what 
possible use can it be to Christians ? Why should we 
be told to take heed to it, if it does not immediately 
concern us ?" We reply. Is nothing of any value to 
us save what immediately concerns ourselves ? Shall 
we take no interest in anything unless we ourselves 
form the immediate subject thereof? Is it nothing to 
us to have the counsels and purposes and plans of God 
laid open before us? Do we lightly esteem the high 
favour of having the thoughts of God communicated 
to us in His holy word of prophecy ? Surely it was 
not thus that Abraham treated the divine communi- 
cations made to him in Genesis xviii.: "Shall I hide 
from Abraham that thing which I do?" And what 
wasthatthing? Did itimmediateiy concern Abraham? 
Not at all. It concerned Sodom and the neighbouring 
cities ; and Abraham had no stake in them. But did 
that prevent his interest in the divine communication? 
Did it hinder his appreciation of the mark of special 
favour in his being made the honoured and, trusted 
depository of the thoughts of God ? Surely tiot.. We 
may safely assert that the faithful patriarch highly 
esteemed the privilege conferred upon him. 

And so should we. We should study prophecy with 
all the interest arising from the fact that therein we 
have unfolded to us, with divine precision, what Godf 
is about to do on this earth, with Israel and with the 
nations. Prophecy is God's h istory of the future ; and 


"THE coming" and "tHE DAY." 


)fit in 
:s into 
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: *'the 
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a fact, 
, then, 
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ilue to 
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iin we 
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just in i)roportion as we love Him, shall wc delight to 
study His history ; not indeed, as some have said, that 
we may know its truth by its fulfilment, but that we 
may possess all that absolute, that divine certainty as 
to the future, which God's word is capable of impart- 
ing. Nothing can be more absured, in the judgment 
of faith, than to suppose that we must wait until the 
accomplishment of a prophecy to know that it is true. 
What an insult offered — unwittingly no doubt — to 
the peerless revelation of our God. 

But we must now turn, for a moment, to the solemn 
subject of "The Day of the Lord." This is a term of 
frequent occurrence in Old Testament scriptures. We 
cannot attempt to quote all the passages ; but we shall 
refer to one or two, and then the reader can follow 
up the subject for himself. 

In Isaiah ii. we read, **Forthe day of the Lord of 
hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, 
and upon every one that is lifted up, and he shall 
be brought low .... And the loftiness of man shall 
be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall 
be made low : and the Lord alone shall be exalted in 
that day. And the idols he shall utterly abolish. 
And they shall go Into the holes of the rocks, and 
into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and 
for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake 
terribly the earth." 

So also, in Joel ii. **Blow ye the trumpet in Zion. 
and sound an alarm in my holy mountain : let all 
the inhabitants of the land tremble ; for the day of 
the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand. A day of 
darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of 
thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the moun- 
tains; a great people and a strong; there has not 
been ever the like, neither shall be any more after 
it, even to the years of many generations .... the 
earth shall quake before them ; the heavens shall 
tremble ; the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the 
stars shall withdraw their shining .... for che day 

• i 






; I 


' II' 

, J 



3:;;.,-: ^ 

! ■ ■ 



of the Lord is great and very terrible ; and who can 
abi^e it ?" 

From these and simllarpassaores, we learn that "The 
day of the Lord" stands associated with the deeply 
solemn thought of judgment upon the world — upon 
apostate Israel — upon man and his ways — upon all 
that which the human heart prizes and longs after. 
In short the day of the Lord stands in striking contrast 
with man's' day. Man has the upper hand now, the 
Lord will have the upper hand then. 

Now, while it is perfectly true that all the Lord's 
people can rejoice in the prospect of that day, which, 
though it will open in judgment upon the world, shall, 
nevertheless, be marked by the universal reign of 
righteousness; yet we must remember that the 
peculiar hope of the Christian is not the day with its 
awful accompanimentsof judgment, wrath, andterror; 
but the coming or presence of Jesus, with its precious 
accompaniments of peace and joy, love and glory. 
The church shall have met her Lord, and returned 
with Him to the Father's house, before that terrible 
day bursts upon the world. It will be her blissful por- 
tion to taste the ineffable communion of that heavenly 
home for an indefinite period previous to the opening 
of the day of the Lord. Her eyes shall be gladdened 
by the sight of "The bright and morning Star," long 
before even "The Sun of righteousness" shall arise, 
in healing virtue upon the pious portion of the nation 
of Israel— the God-fearing remnant of the seed of 

We are intensely anxious that the christian reader 
should thoroughly enter into this grand and important 
distinction. We feel persuaded that it will have an 
immense effect upon all his thoughts and views and 
hopes of the future. It will enable him to see, without 
a single intervening cloud, his true prospect, as a 
Christian. 1 1 will deliver him from all mist, vagueness, 
and confusion; and further, it will divest his mind of 
all j.hat feeling of dread with which so many even of 




THE coming" and "THE DAY.'' 


i Lord's 
, which, 
[d, shall, 
reign of 
hat the 
with its 

I glory, 
;ful por- 
r," long 

II arise, 
) nation 
seed of 

lave an 
ws and 
ct, as a 
nind of 
iven of 

the Lord'sdear people contemplate the future. It will 
teach him to look for the Saviour — the blessed Bride- 
groom — the everlasting lover of his soul, and not for 
judgments and terror, eclipses and earthquakes, con- 
vulsions, and revolutions, it will keep hisspirit tranquil 
and happy, in the sure and certain hope of being with 
Jesus, ere that great and terrible day of the Lord come. 

See how the faithful apostle laboured to lead his 
dearThessalonian converts into the clear understand- 
ing of the difference of "the coming" and "the day." 

"But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye 
have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves 
know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as 
athiefinthenight. For when ///^jK[not ye] shall say, 
Peace and safety ; then sudden destruction cometh 
upon them, as travail upon a woman with child ; and 
they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in 
darkness, that that day should overtake you asa thief. 
Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the 
day : v»'e are not of the night, nor of darkness" — The 
Lord be praised ! — "Therefore let us not sleep, as do 
others ; but let us watch and be sober. For they that 
sleep, sleep in the night ; and they that are drunken 
are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the 
day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and 
love, and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For 
God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain 
salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, 
that, whether we wake or sleep [that is, are dead or 
alive] we should live together with him. Wherefore 
comfort yourselves together and edify one another,' 
even as also ye do." (i Thessalonians v, i-ii.) 

Here we have the distinction set forth with unmis* 
takable clearness. The Lord Himself shall come for 
us as the Bridegroom. The day of the Lord shall 
come upon the worlo ai- a thief. Is it possible for con- 
trast to be more striking ? How can anyone confound 
these two things ? They are as distinct as any two 
things can be. A bridegroom and a thief are surely 


) >; 









two different things ; and just as different are the 
coming of the Lord for His waiting people and the 
coming of His day upon a slumbering or intoxicated 

Some perhaps may find a difficulty in the fact that 
the church in Sardis is addressed in such solemn words 
as these, "If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will 
come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what 
hour I will come upon thee." (Rev. iii, 3.) The diffi- 
culty will vanish when we reflect that, in the case of 
Sardis, the professing body is looked upon as having 
a mere name to live while dead. It has sunk to the 
level of the world, and can only see things from the 
World's standpoint. The church has failed utterly ; it 
has fallen from its high and holy position ; it is under 
judgment ; it cannot therefore be cheered by the 
church's propcrhope; but is threatenedby the world's 
terrible doom. We do not see the church here as the 
body or bride of Christ, but as the responsible witness 
for God on the earth — the golden candlestick which 
oughttohave held forth the divine light of testimony 
in this dark world, in the absence of her Lord. But 
alas ! the professing church has sunk lower and become 
darker than even the world itself. Hence the solemn 
threatening. The exception confirms the rule. 

We shall proceed with this subject as presented in 
second Thessalonians. 

It is a fact full of the richest comfort and consolation 
to the heart of a true believer, that our God, in His 
marvellous grace, ever makes the eater to yield meat, 
and the strong sweetness. He brings light out of 
darkness, life out of death, and causes the bright beams 
of His glory to shine amid the most disastrous ruin 
caused by the enemy's hand. The truth of this is 
illustrated on every page of the inspired volume, and 
it should fill our hearts with peace and our mouths 
with praise. • 

Hence it is that the varied doctrinal errors and 
practical evils, into which the early Christians were 


"THE coming'* and "tHE DAY. 



are the 
and the 

act that 
n words 
I will 
)W what 
he diffi- 
case of 
} having 
k to the 
rom the 
terly ; it 
is under 
i by the 
e as the 
k which 
rd. But 
^nted in 

, in His 
d meat, 
t out of 
t beams 
•us ruin 
f this is 
ne, and 

)rs and 
is were 

permitted to fall, have been overruled of God, and 
used for the instruction, guidance, and solid profit of 
the church to the close of her earthly history. 

Thus, for example, the error of the Thessalonian 
Christians in reference to their departed brethren was 
made the occasion of pouring such a flood of divine 
light upon the Lord's coming, and upon the rapture 
of the saints, that it is impossible for any simple mind, 
that bows to scripture, ever to fall into a similar mis- 
take. They looked for the Lord to come ; and in that 
they were right. They expected Him to set up His 
kingdom on the earth ; and in that they were right, 
as to the broad fact. 

But they made a great mistake in leaving out the 
heavenly side of this glorious hope. Their intelligence 
was defective — their faith lacking. They did not see 
the two parts — the double bearing of the advent of 
Christ — His descent into the air to receive His people 
to Himself, and His appearing in glory to set up His 
kingdom in manifested power. Hence they feared 
that their departed brethren would necessarily be 
absent from the sphere of blessing — the circle of glory. 
This mistake is divinely corrected, as wl* have seen, in 
the first epistle, chapter iv. The heavenly side of the 
hope — the'Christian's proper portion — is placed be- 
f^ire the heart as the true corrective for the error in 
reference to the sleeping saint--. Christ will gather all 
\/u:i^ aot merely part of) His people to Himself ; and 
if tiiCrc is to be any advantage — a shade of difference 
in the matter, it will be on the side of those very 
people about whom they were mourning. "The dead 
in Christ shall rise first." 

But, from the second Epistle to the Thessalonians, 
we learn that those dear young converts had been led 
into another grave error — an error, not as to the dead, 
but as to the living — a mistake, not respecting *'the 
coming," but respecting "the day of the Lord." In 
the one case, they feared that the dead would not par- 
ticipate in the blissful triumph of the coming ; and, in 

T j'l 

1 il 

1 ' 












; U; 


i I 



the other case, they feared thatthelivingu ere actually 
at the very moment, involved in the terrors of the day. 

Such is the mistake with which the inspired apostle 
deals inhis second letterto the Thessalonian believers; 
and nothing can exceed the tenderness and delicacy, 
and yet withal the wisdom and faithfulness of his 

The Christiansat Thessalonica were passing through 
intense persecution and tribulation ; and it is very evi- 
dent that the enemy, by means of false teachers, 
sought to upset their minds, by leading them to think 
that "the great and terrible day of the Lord" had 
actually arrived, and that the troubles through which 
they were passing were the accompaniments of that 
day. ; If this were so, the,entire teaching of the apostle 
was proved false ; for if there was one truth that shone 
fortK more brightly and prominently in his teaching 
than,another,itwas the association and identification 
of believers with Christ — an association so intimate, 
an identification so close, that it was impossible for 
Christ to appear in glory without His people. "When 
Christ who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also 
appear with Him in glory." But He must appear in 
order to introduce "the day." 

Furthermore, when the day of the Lord doesactually 
arrive, it will not be to trouble His people, but, on the 
contrary, to trouble their persecutors. Of this the 
apostle reminds them, in themostsimple, forcible man- 
ner, in his very opening lines : "We are bound to 
thank God always for you, brethren as it is meet, 
because that your faith groweth exceedingly, and the 
charity of every one of you all toward each other 
aboundeth ; so that we ourselves glory in you in the 
churches of God for your patience and faith in all 
your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure : 
which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment 
of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the king- 
dom of God, for which ye also suffer : seeing it is a 

■ ^ 




"the coming" and "the day." 


the day. 

I apostle 
} of his 

^ery evi- 
to think 
•d" had 
h which 
5 of that 
: apostle 
at shone 
jible for 
ye also 
jpear in 

on the 
his the 
le man- 
und to 

md the 
1 other 

in the 

in all 
ndure : 
e king- 

it is a 

f ighteous thing zvithGod to recompe?ise tribulation to them 
that trouble yon ; and to yon who are troubled rest with 
//^, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven 
on them that know not God [Gentiles], and that obey 
not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ* [Jews]." 
(Chapter i, 3-8.) 

Thus, not only was the christian position involved 
in this matter, but the very glory of God — His actual 
righteousness. If, indeed, the day of the Lord brought 
tribulation to Christians, then was there no truth in 
the doctrine — the grand prominent doctrine of Paul's 
teaching — that Christ and His people are one; and 
moreover it would impugn the righteousness of God. 
In short, then, if Christians were in tribulation, it 
was morally impossible that the day of the Lord 
could have set in, for when that day comes, it will be 
rest for believers, as their public recompense, in the 
kingdom — not merely in the Father's house ; which 
is not the point here. The tables will be completely 
turned. The church will be in rest, the church s 
troublersin tribulation. Duringman's day, the church 
is called to tribulation ; but in the day of the Lord all 
will be reversed. 

Let the reader note this carefully. It is not the 
question of Christians suffering tribulation. They are 
actuallycalledtoitinthis world, so long as wickedness 
has the upper hand. Christ suffered and so must they. 
But the point we want to fasten upon the mind and 
heart of the Chrisfian is, that when Christ comes to set 
up Hiskingdom, itis utterly impossible that Hispcople 
can be in trouble. Thus the entire teaching of the 
enemy, by which he sought to upset the Thessalonian 
believers was proved to be utterly fallacious. The 
apostle sweeps away the very foundation of the whole 
fabric by the simple statement of the precious truth of 
God. This is the divine way of delivering people from 
falso notions and vain fears. Give them the truth, and 
error must flee before it. Let in the sunshine of God's 




1 ' ' 

I '<] 


} ' 



eternal word, and all the mists and clouds of false doc- 
trine must be rolled away. 

But let us, for a moment, examine the further teach- 
ing of our apostle, in this remarkable writing. In so 
doing, we shall see how thoroughly he establishes the 
distinction between "the coming ' and "the day" — 
a distinction which the reader will do well to ponder. 

ing together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in 
mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, 
nor by letter, as from us, as that the day of the Lord 
is present."* 

Now, apart altogether from the question of various 
readings a moment's reflection will suffice to shew the 
simple minded Christian that the apostle could not 
possibly mean to teach the Thessalonians that the day 
of the Lord was not, even then, at hand. Scripture 
can never contradict itself No one sentence of aivine 
revelation can possibly collide with another. But if 
the reading given in our excellent Authorized Version 
were correct, it wouL* stand in direct opposition to 
Romans xiii, 12, where we are plainly and expressly 
told that "the day is at hand." What "day ?" The day 
of the Lord, most surely, which is always the term 
used in connection with our individual fesponsibilty 
in walk and service. 

This, we may remark in passing, is a point of much 
interest and practical value. If the reader will take the 

* We have no pretenafons whatefver to schofarsMp5 we are merely 
gleaners in the deeply interesting field of crftieism in which others have 
reaped a golden harvest. We do not mean to" occHpy our readers wit' i 
arguments in the defence of readings given in the text : hat we fedf that 
there is no use in giving then* what we consider to be erroneous We 
believe there is nodouM; whateverthat the true reading of 2* Thessalonians' 
ii. is as we have given it abover "as that the day of the Lord is present. " 
The word e vcanjKev c^n only be thus rendered. It occurs in Romans viii^ 
88, where it is translated "things present. " So also in 1 Corinthians iii, 
22, "things present ; " chapter vii, 25, ''^present distress ; " Galatians i, 4, 
^^present evil world ; " Hebrews ix, 9, "time thenpresent." 






alse doc- 

j. In so 
ishes the 
! day"— 
> ponder* 

e ground 
haken in 
by word, 
the Lord 

if various 
shew the 
ould not 
it the day 
of divine 
But if 
sition ta 
The day 
:he term 




trouble to examine the various passages in which "the 
day" is spoken of, he will find that they have reference, 
more or less, to the question of work, service, or respon- 
sibility. For instance, "That ye may be blameless 
[not at the co7ning^ but] in the day of our Lord Jesus 
Christ" (i Cor. i, 8.) Again, "every man's work 
shall be made manifest, for the day shall declare it." 
(i Cor. iii, 13.) "Without offence till the day of 
Christ." (Phil, i, 10.) "Henceforth there is laid up 
for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the 
righteous judge, shall give me at that day** (2 Tim- 
othy iv, 8.) 

From all these passages, and many more which 
might be adduced, we learn that "the day of the Lord" 
will be the grand time for reckoningwith the workers ; 
for the divine appraisal of service ; for the settling of 
all questions of personal responsibility ; for the distribu- 
tion of rewards-^the "ten cities" and the "five cities." 

Thus wherever we turn, in whatever way we look 
at the subject, 'we are more and more confirmed in 
the truth of the clear distinction between our Lord's 
"coming" or "state of presence, "and His"appearing" 
or "day." The former is ever held up before the heart 
as the bright and blessed hope of the believer, which 
may be realized at any moment. The latter is pressed 
rather upon the conscience, in deep solemnity, as bear- 
ing upon the entire practical career of those who are 
set in this world to work and witness for an absent 
Lord. Scripture never confounds these things, how- 
ever much we may do it ; nor is there a single sentence, 
from cover to cover of the holy volume, which teaches 
that believers are not always to be looking out for the 
coming of the Lord, and ever to bear in mind that 
the day is at hand." It is only "that evil servant" — re- 
ferred to in our Lord's discourse in Matthew xxiv. — 
that "says in his heart, My lord delayefth his cormng ;" 
and there we see the terrible results which must 
ever flow from the harbouring of such a thought in 
the heart. 



I .; ■' I'l 

I < 



We shall now return for a moment, to 2 Thessalon- 
ians ii. — a passage of scripture which has given rise 
to much discussion amongst prophetic expositors, 
and presented considerable difficulty to the students 
of prophecy. ^ 

It is very evident that the false teachers had been 
seeking to disturb the minds of the Thessalonians by 
leading them to thinkthat they were, even then, sur- 
rounded by the terrors of the day of the Lord. Not 
so, says the apostle; that cannot be. Before ever that 
day opens, we must all be gathered to meet the Lord 
in the air. He beseeches them on the ground' (wep) 
of the Lord's coming, andour gathering togetherunto 
Him, not to be troubled about the day. He had al- 
ready opened to thcmtheheavenlysideof the Lord's 
coming. He had taught them that they, as Christians 
belonged to the day ; that their home and their por- 
tion and their hope were all in that very region from 
which the day was to shine out. It was wholly im- 
possible, therefore, that the day of the Lord could 
involve any terror or trouble to those who were, 
actually, through grace, the sons of the day. ' 

But, further, even looking at the subject from the^ 
earthly side of it, the false teachers were all wrong. 
"Let no man deceive you by any means : for [that day 
shall not come] except there come a falling away first, 
and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition ; 
who opposeth and exc^lteth himself above all that is 
called God, or that is worshipped ; so that he, as God, 
sitteth in the temple of God shewing himself that he 
is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was with you 
I told you these things. And now ye know what 
withholdeth that he might be revealed in His time. 
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work : only 
he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of 
the way. And then shall that wicked be revealed, 
whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his 
mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His 
coming [or the appearing of his presence]. Even Him 

"THE coming" and "THE DAY." 


whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all 
power and signs and lying wonders, and with all 
deceivablencss of unrighteousness in them that 
perish; because they received not the love of the truth, 
that they might be saved." (Verse 3-10.) 

Here, then, we are taught that ere the day of the 
Lord arrives, the lawless one, the man of sin, the son 
of perdition must be revealed. The mystery of iniquity 
must rise to a head. Man shall set himself up in open 
opposition to God, nay, shall even assume to himself 
the name and the worship of God. All this has to be 
developed on the earth before that great and terrible 
day of the Lord shall burst in judgment upon the 
scene. For the present, there is a barrier, a hindrance 
to the manifestation of this awful parsonage. We are 
not told here what this barrier or hindrance is. God 
may vary it at different times. But we learn, most 
distinctly, from the book of Revelation, that ere the 
mystery of iniquity culminates in the person of the 
man of sin, the church shall have been'rettioved from 
this scene altogether. It is impossible tOi read, with 
an enlightened eye, Revelation iv,, v. ai\d not see 
that the church shall be in the veiy innermost circle 
of heavenly glory, ere a single seal is opened,' a single 
trumpet sounded, a single vial poured out. ' We do 
not believe that any one can understand the book of 
Apocalypse who does not see this. ' 

We may have occasion to go more frebly into this 
profoundly interesting point, by-and-by. We can only 
nowentreatthe readerto study the subject for himself. 
Let him ponder Revelation iv., v. and ask God to in- 


* Some have considered that thehinderer or hindrance was the Roman 
empire : others that it is the Hoiy Ghost in the church. To this latter we 
have inclined for many years ; though it may be there is a measure of 
truth in the former. This, at least, we knoAv, from other parts of acripture, 
that ere the lawless one appears on the scene, the church >7ill have been 
safely and blessedly housed in her own eternal home above— her prepared 
platre. How precious the thought of this ! » 

I r 





i J ' '. 

terpret their preciouscontents tohissoul. In this way , 
we feel persuaded he will learn that the twenty-four 
crownea elders set forth the heavenlysaints,whoshalI 
be gathered round the Lamb, in glory, before a single 
line of the prophetic portion of the book is fulfilled. 

And here we must close this paper ; but ere doing 
so we should like to put a very plain 'question to the 
reader — aquestion which canonlybeanswered rightly 
in the imrqediate presence of God. It is this, What is 
it thou art looking for? What is thy hope? Art 
thou looking forward to certain events which are to 
transpire on this earth, such as the revival of the 
Roman empire,the development of the ten kingdoms; 
the gathering b^ck of the Jews to their own land of 
Palestine ; the .rebuilding of Jerusalem ; the appear- 
ance of Antichrij^t; the great tribulation ; and finally 
the appalling judgments which shall, most surely, 
usher in th$ day/of the Lord ? 

Say, beloved friend, are these the things which fill 
the vision of thy soul ? Is it for these thou art looking 
and waiting ? . If so, be assured of it, thou art not 
governed by the church's proper hope. It is quitetrue 
that all these things which we have named shall come 
to pass in their appointed time ; but not one of them 
should be allowed to come between thee and thy 
proper hope. They all stand on the prophetic page ; 
they are all recorded in God's history of the future ; 
but they were never intended to cast a shadow 
athwart the Christian's bright and blessed hope. 
That hope stands forth in glorious relief from the 
background of prophecy. What is it ? Yes, we say 
again. What is it ? It is the appearing of the bright 
and morning Star — the coming of the Lord Jesus — 
the blessed Bridegroom of the church. 

This and nought else, is the true and proper hope 
of the church of God. "I will give him the morning 
star." (Rev. ii, 23.) *'Behold the bridegroom cometh." 
(Matt. XXV.) When, we may ask, does the morning 
star appear in the natural world ? Just before the 











his way, 
^ho shall 

a single 
re doing 
3n to the 
d rightly 
What is 
e? Art 
:h are to 
il of the 
ngdoms ; 
1 land of 

id finally 
t surely, 

which fill 
t looking 
i art not 
lall come 
of them 
and thy 
tic page; 
e future ; 
ed hope, 
rom the 



dawning of the day. Who sees it ? The one who has 
been watching during the dark and dreary hours of 
the night. How plain, how practical, how telling the 
application ! Thcchurch is supposed to be watching — 
to be lovingly wakeful — to be looking out to be put- 
ting forth that inquiry of the intensely longing heart, 
"Why tarry the wheels of his chariot ?" Alas 1 the 
church has failed in this. But that is no reason why 
the individual believer should not be in the full present 
power of the blessed hope. "Let htm that heareth 
say, Come." This is deeply personal. Oh ! that the 
writer and the reader of these lines may realize habi- 
tually the purifying, sanctifying, elevating power of 
this heavenly hope! May we understand and exhibit 
the practical power of those words of theapostle John, 
"Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth 
himself, even as he is pure." 


It may be that some of our readers will feel startled 
by the title of this paper. Accustomed, from their 
earliest days,tolook at this great question through the 
medium of Christendom's standards of doctrine and 
confessions of faith, the idea of two resurrections has 
never once entered their minds. Nevertheless scrip- 
ture docs speak, in the most distinct and unequivocal 
terms, of a "resurrection of life," and a "resurrection 
of judgment" — two resurrections, distinct in 
character, and distinct in time. 

And not only so, but it informs us that there will be, '' 
at, a thousand years between the two. If men 
teach otherwise — if they build up systems of divinity, • 
and set forth creeds and confessions of faith contrary 
to the direct and positive teaching of holy scripture, 
they must settle that with their Lord, as must all who 
committhemselves to theirguidance. Butremember, 




reader it is your bounden duty and ours to hearken 
only to the authority of the word of God, and to bow 
down, in unqualified submission, to its holy teaching. 

Let us, then, reverently inquire, what saith the 
scripture on the subject indicated at the head of this 
article ? May God the Spirit guide and instruct ! 

We shall nrst quote that remarkable passage in 
chapter v. of John's Gospf^l : "Verily, verily, I say 
unto you, He that heareth my word and believeth on 
him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not 
come into judgment ; but is passed from death unto 
life. Verily, verily, I say unto you. The hour is com- 
ing, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of 
the Son of God ; and they that hear shall live. For as 
the Father hath life in Himself; so hath He given to 
the Son to have life in himself ; and hath given him 
authority to execute judgment also because He i? 
the Son of man. Marvel not at this ; for the hour ] 
His voice, and shall come forth : they that have done 
good, unto the resurrection of life : and they that 
have done evil, unto the resurrection ot judgment."* 

Here, then, we have, indicated in the most unmis- 
takable terms, the two resurrections. True, they are 
not distinguished as to time, in this passage ; but they 
are as to character. We have a life resurrection ; and 
ay«^^7«^«/ resurrection, and nothing can be more dis- 

'\[\ i; 

I. {'. 

* The English reader should be Infomied that, in the entire imssage, 
John V, 22—26, the words '"judgment,'* "condemnation," "damnation," 
are all expressed by the same word in the original, and that word is 
simply "judgment, " Kpi^is, the process^ not the result. It is much to be 
deplored that our Athorized Version should not have so rendered the 
Word throughout. It would have made the teaching of the passage 
clearer. It is with extreme reluctance that we ever venture to touch our 
unrivalled English Bible, but it is, at times, absolutely necessary for the 
truth's sake, and for the sake of our readers. As to the rendering of verse 
24, it really comes to the same thing whether we say, "condemnation" or 
"judgment, "i;iasmuch as if there be judgment at all, ite issue must be 
condemnation. But wh.^ not be accurate? • ~ 



to bow 
ith the 
1 of this 
cruet I 
sage in 
', I say 
veth on 
hall not 
Lth unto 
• is corn- 
voice of 
. For as 
given to 
^en him 
e He i? 
t hour ! 
hall hear 
ve done 
\ey that 
;t unmis- 
they are 
but they 
on ; and 
nore dis- 

re imssage, 
mt word is 
much to be 
sndered the 
the passage 
:o touch our 
sary for the 
Iniar of verse 
ue must be 

tinct than these. There is no possible ground here on 
which to build the theory of a promiscuous resur- 
rection. The resurrection of believers will beeclectic; 
it w ill be on the same principle, and partake of the same 
character as the resurrection of our blessed and ador- 
able Lord; it will b^ a resurrection from among the 
dead. It will be an act of divine power, founded upon 
accomplished redemption, whereby God will inter- 
pose on behalf of His sleeping saints, and raise them 
up from among the dead, leaving the rest of the dead 
in their gravesfor a thousand years. (Revelation xx, 5.) 

There is an interesting passage in Mark ix. which 
throwsgreat light on this subject. The opening verses 
contain the record of the transfiguration ; and then we 
read, '*As they came down from the mountain, he 
charged them that they should tell no man what things 
they had seen, till the Son of man were risen from the 
dead. And they kept that saying with themselves, 
questioning one with another what the rising from[eK^ 
from among] the dead should mean." 

The disciples felt that there was something special, 
something entirely beyond the ordinary orthodox 
idea of the resurrection of the dead, and verily so 
there was, though they understood it not then. It 
lay beyond their range of vision at that moment. 

But let us turn to Philippians iii., and hearken to 
the breathings of one who thoroughly entered into 
and appreciated this grand christian doctrine, and 
fondly cherished this glorious and heavenly hope. 
"That I may know him, and the power of his resur- 
rection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being 
made conformable unto his death : if by any means 
I might attain unto the resurrection from among 
the dead." [i^avdaracnv] (Verses 10, 11.) 

A moment's just reflection will suffice to convince 
the reader that the apostle is not speaking here of 
[the great broad truth of "the resurrection of the 
lead," inasmuch as everyone must rise again. But 
there was something specific before the heart of this 






1 ■ I 


dear servant of Christ, namely, " a resurrection from 
among the dead" — an eclectic resurrection — a re- 
surrection formed on the model of Christ's resurrec- 
tion. It was for this he longed continually. This 
was the bright and blessed hope that shone upon 
his soul and cheered him amid the sorrows and 
trials, the toils and the difficulties, the buffetings and 
the conflicts of his extraordinary career. 

But, it may be asked, " Does the apostle always 
use this distinguishing little word (ex) when speaking 
of resurrection ^'* Not always. Turn, for example, 
to Acts xxiv. 1.5: "And have hope toward God, 
v/hich they therriselves also allow, that there shall 
be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and 
unjust." Here, there is no word to indicate the 
christian or heavenly side of the subject, for the 
simplest possible reason that the apostle was speak- 
ing to those who were utterly incapable of entering 
into the Christian's proper hope — far more incapable 
than even the disciples in Mark ix. How could he 
possibly unbosom himself in the presence of such 
men as Tertullus, Ananias, and Felix ? How could 
he speak to them of his own specific and fondly 
cherished hope ? No ; he could only take his stand 
on the great broad truth of resurrection, common to 
orthodox Jews. Had he spoken of "a resurrection 
from among the dead," he could not have added 
the words, ** which they themselves also allow," for 
they did not "allow" anything of the kind. 

But oh ! what a contrast between this precious 
servant of Christ, defending himself from his accus- 
ers, in Acts xxiv., and unbosoming himself to his 
beloved brethren in Philippians iii. ! To the latter 
he can speak of the true christian hope in the full 
orbed light which the glory of Christ pours upon it, 
He can give utterance to the inmost thoughts, feel- 
ings, and aspirations of that great, large, loving 
heart, with its earnest throbbings after the life- 
resurrection in the which hie shall be satisfied 



ction from 
ion — a re- 
s resurrec- 
illy. This 
lone upon 
rrows and 
etings and 

:le always 
I speaking 
■ example, 
^ard God, 
here shall 
e just and 
licate the 
ct, for the 
^as speak- 
r entering 
could he 
:e of such 
ow could 
d fondly 
his stand 
)mmon to 
ve added 
low," for 

lis accus- 
elf to his 
le latter 
the full 
upon it, 
hts, feel- 
j, loving 
the life- 

as he wakes up in the likeness of his blessed Lord. 

But we must return, for a moment, to our first 
quotation, from John v. It may perhaps present a 
difficulty to some of our readers in laying hold of 
the truth of the Christian's hope of resurrection, that 
our Lord makes use of the word "hour" in speaking 
of the two classes. ** How," it is argued, " can there 
be a thousand years between the two resurrections, 
when our Lord expressly tells us that all shall occur 
within the limits of an hour ?" 

To this question we have a double reply. In the 
first place, we find our Lord making use of the self- 
.same word " hour," at verse 25, where He is speaking 
of the great and glorious work of quickening dead 
souls, " Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is 
commg, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice 
of the Son of God; and they that hear shall live." 

Now, here, we have a work which has been going 
on for nearly nineteen long centuries. During all that 
time, here spoken of as an "hour," the voice of Jesus, 
the Son of God, has been heard calling precious souls 
from death to life. If, therefore, in the very same dis- 
course, our Lord used the word "hour" wb^n speak- 
ing of a period which has already extended to well- 
nigh two thousand years, what difficulty can there be 
in apply ing the word to a period of one thousand years ? 

Surely, none whatever, as we judge. But even if 
any little difficulty yet remained, it must be thorough- 
ly met by the airect testimony of the Holy Ghost, 
in Revelation xx. where we read, " But the rest of 
the dead lived not again till the thousand years were 
finished. This is the first fcsurrectio?u Blessed and 
holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection : 
on such the second death hath no power, but they 
shall be priests of God, and of Christ, and shall reign 
with him a thousand years." (Verses 5,6.) 

This settles the question absolutely and for ever, 
for all those who are willing to be taught exclusively 
by holy scripture, as every true Christian ought to 






be. There will be two resurrections, the first and 
the second : and there \v ill be a thousand years be- 
tween the two. To the former belong all the Old 
Testament saints — referred to in Hebrews xii. under 
the title of the spirits of just men made perfect — then 
the church of the first-born ones — and finally all those 
who shall be put to death during **the great tribula- 
tion," and throughout the entire period between the 
raptureofthesaintsandtheappearingofChristin judg- 
ment upon the beast and'his armies, in Revelation xix. 

To the latter, on the other hand, belong all those 
who shall have died in their sins, from the days of 
Cain, in Genesis iv. down to the last apostate from 
millennial glory, in Revelation xx. 

How solemn is all this! How real! How soul- 
subduing. If our Lord were to come to-night, what a 
scene would be enacted in all our cemeteries and 
graveyards ! What tongue, what pen can portray — 
what heart can conceive — the grand realitiesof such a 
moment? There are thousands of tombs in which lie 
mingled the ashes of the dead in Christ, and the ashes 
of the dead ^/// of Christ. In many a family vault may 
be foimd the ashes of both. Well, then, when the 
voice of the archangel is heard, all the sleeping saints 
shall rise from their graves, leaving behind them 
those who have died in their sins, to remain in the 
darkness and silence of the tomb for a thousand years. 

Yes, reader, such is the direct and simple testimony 
of the word of God. True, it does not enter into any 
curious details. It does not furnish any food for a 
morbid imagination or idle curiosity. But it sets forth 
the solemn and weighty fact of a first and second res- 
urrection — aresurrection of life and everlasting glory, 
and a resurrection of judgment and everlasting mis- 
ery. There is positively no such thing in scripture as 
a promiscuous resurrection — a common rising of all 
at the same time. We must abandon this idea alto- 
gether, like many others which we have received to 
hold, in which we have been trained from our earliest 



days, which have grown with our growth and strength- 
ened with our strength, until they have become actu- 
ally ingrained as part of our very mental, moral, and 
religious constitution, so that to part with them is 
like the sundering of limb from limb, or rending the 
flesh from our bones. 

Nevertheless, it must be done, if we really desire to 
grow in the knowledge of divine revelation. There is 
no greater hindrance to our getting into the thoughts 
of God than having our minds filled with our own 
thoughts or the thoughts of men. Thus, for example, 
in reference to the subject of this paper, almost all of 
us have, at onetime, held the opinion that all will rise 
together, both believers and unbelievers, and all stand 
together to be judged. Whereas when we come to 
scripture, like a little child, nothing can be simpler, 
nothing clearer, nothing more explicit than its teach- 
ing, as to this question. Revelation xx. 5, teaches us 
that there will be an interval of a thousand years be- 
tween the resurrection of the saints and the resurrec- 
tion of the wicked. 

It is of no use to speak of a resurrection of spirits. 
Indeed it is a manifest piece of absurdity ; for inas- 
much as spirits cannot die, they cannot be raised from 
the dead. Equally absurd is it to speak of a resurrec- 
tion of principles. There is no such thing in scrip- 
ture. The language is as plain as plainness itself. "The 
rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand 
years were finished. This is the first resurrection." 
Why should anyone seek to set aside the plain force of 
such a passage? Why not bow to it? Why not get rid, 
at once, of all our old and fondly cherished notions, 
and receive with meekness the engrafted word. 

Reader, does it not seem plain to thee that if scrip- 
ture speaks oi^ first resurrection, then it must follow 
that all will not rise together? Why should it be said, 
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first 
resurrection/' if all are to rise at the same time? 

In fact it seems to us impossible for any unpreju- 




diced itiind to study the New Testament and yet hold 
to the theory of a promiscuous resurrection. It is due 
to the glory of Christ, the Head, that His members 
should have aspecific resurrection — a resurrection like 
His own — a resurrection from among the dead. And 
verily, so they shall. " Behold I shew you a mystery, 
we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in 
a moment, in the twmkling of an eye, at the last trump: 
for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be 
raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For 
this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this 
mortal must put on immortality. So when this cor- 
ruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this 
mortal shall have put on immortality then shall be 
brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is 
swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? 
O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is 
sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be 
to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord 
Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye 
steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work 
of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is 
not in vain in the Lord.'* (i Corinthians xv.) 


There is something peculiarly painful In the thought 
of having so frequently to come in collision with the 
generally received opinions of the professing church. 
It looks presumptuous to contradict, on so many sub- 
jects, all the great standards and creeds of Christen- 
dom. But what is one to do? Were it indeed a mere 
question of human opinion, it might seem a piece of 
bold and unwarrantable temerity for any one individu- 
al to set himself in direct opposition to the established 
faith of the whole professing church — afaith which has 
held sway for centuries, over the minds of millions. 

But we would ever impress upon our readers the 
fact that it is not at all a question of human opinion, 




or of a difference of judgment amongst even the 
very best of men. It is entirely a question as to the 
teaching and authority of holy scripture. There 
have been, and there are, and there will be, schools 
of doctrine, varietiesof opinion and shades of thought; 
but it is the obvious duty of every child of God, and 
every servant of Christ to bow down, in holy rever- 
ence, and hearken to the voice of God in scripture. 
If it be merely a matter of human authority, it must 
simply go for what it is worth ; but on the other 
hand, if it be a matter of divine authority, then all 
discussion is closed, and our place — the place of all 
— is to bow and bcHeve. 

Thus, in our last paper, we were led to see that 
there is no such thing in scripture as a general resur- 
rection—a common rising of all at the same time. 
We trust our readers have, like the Bereans of old, 
searched the scriptures as to this, and that they are 
now prepared to accompany us in our examination 
of the word of God as to the subject of the judgment. 

The great question, at the outset, is this. Does scrip- 
ture teach the doctrine of a general judgment? Chris- 
tendom holds it; but does scripture teach it? 
Let us see. 

In the first place, as to the Christian individually, 
and the church of God collectively, the New Testa- 
ment sets forth the precious truth that there is no 
judgment at all. So far as the believer is concerned, 
judgment is past and gone. The heavy cloud of 
judgment has burst upon the head of our divine 
Sin-bearer. He has exhausted, on our behalf, the 
cup of wrath and judgment, and planted us on the 
new ground of resurrection to which judgment can 
never by any possibility, apply. It is just as impos- 
sible that a member of the body of Christ can come 
into judgment as that the divine Head Himself can 
do so. This seems a very strong statement to make ; 
but is it true ? If so, its strength is part of its moral 
value and glory. 





■%i • 








For what, let us ask, was Jesus judged on the 
cross ? For his people. He was made sin for us. 
He represented us there. He stood in our stead. 
He bore all that was due to us. Our entire condi- 
tion with all its belongings was dealt with in the 
death of Christ ; and so dealt with that it is utterly 
impossible that any question can ever be raised. 
Has God any question to settle with Christ, the 
Head? Clearly not. Well, then, neither has He 
any question to settle with the members. Every 
question is divinely and definitively settled, and, in 
proof of the settlement, the Head is crowned with 
glory and honour, and seated at the right hand of 
the majesty in the heavens. 

Hence, to suppose that Christians are to come 
into judgment, at any time, or on any ground, or for 
any object whatsoever, is to deny the very founda- 
tion truth of Christianity, and to contradict the plain 
words of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has expressly 
declared, in reference to all who believe in Him, that 
they " shall not come into judgment.'* (John v. 24.) 

In point of fact, the idea of Christians being ar- 
raigned at the bar of judgment to try the question 
of their title and fitness for heaven, is as absurd as it 
is unscriptural. For example, how can we think of 
Paul or the penitent thief standing to be judged as 
to their title to heaven, after having been there al- 
ready for nearly two thousand years ? But thus it 
must be, if there be any truth in the theory of a 
general judgment. If the gi;jeat question of our 
title to heaven has to be settled at the day of judg- 
ment, then clearly it was no-t settled on the cross ; 
and if it was not settled on the cross, then most surely 
we shall be damned ; for if we are to be judged at 
all, it must be according to our works, and the only 
possible issue of such a judgment is the lake of fire. 

If, however, it be maintained that Christians shall 
only stand in the judgment in order to make it mani- 
fest that they are clear through the death of Christ, 



then would the day of judgment be turned into a 
mere formality, the bare thought of which is most 
revolting to every pious and well regulated mind. 

But, in truth, there is no need of reasoning on the 
point. One sentence of holy scripture is better far 
than ten thousand of man's most cogent arguments. 
Our Lord Christ hath declared, in the clearest and 
most emphatic terms, that believers "shall not come 
into judgment." This is enough. The believer was 
judged over eighteen hundred years ago in the Person 
of his Head ; and to bring him into judgment again 
would be to ignore completely the cross of Christ in 
its atoning efficacy ; and, most assuredly, God will 
not, cannot allow this. The very feeblest believer 
may say in thankfulness and triumph, "So far as I am 
concerned, all that had to be judged is judged already. 
Every question that had to be settled is settled. 
Judgment is past and gone for ever. I know my 
work must be tried, my service appraised ; but as to 
myself, my person, my standing, mv title, all is di- 
vinely settled. The man who answered for me on 
the tree, is now crowned on the throne ; and the crown 
which He wears is the proof that there remains no 
judgment for me. I am waiting for a life-resurrection." 

This, and nothing short of this, is the proper lan- 
guage of the Christian, It is simply due to the work 
of the cross that the believer should thus feel, and 
thus express himself. For such a one to be looking 
forward to the day of judgment, for a settlement of 
the question of his eternal destiny, is to dishonour 
his Lord, and deny the efficacy of His atoning sacri- 
fice. It may sound like humility, and savor of piety 
to hover in doubt. But we may rest assured that all 
who harbour doubts, ail who live in a state of uncer- 
tainty, all who are looking forward to the day of 
judgment for a final settlement of their affairs — all 
such are more occupied with themselves than with 
Christ. They have not yet understood the applica- 
tion of the cross to their sins and to their nature. 



* 1 1 


They are doubting the word of God and the work of 
Christ, and this is not Christianity. There is — there 
can be — no judgment for those who, sheltered by 
the cross, have planted a firm foot on the new and 
everlasting ground of resurrection. For such, all 
judgment is over for ever, and nothing remains but 
a prospect of cloudless glory and everlasting blessed- 
ness, in the presence of God and of the Lamb. 

However, it is not at all improbable that, all this 
while, the mind of the reader has been recurring to 
Matthew XXV, 31-46 as a scripture which directly 
establishes the theory of a general judgment; and 
we feel it to be our sacred duty to turn with him for 
a moment, to that very solemn and important pr-s- 
sage ; at the same time, reminding him of the fact 
that no one scripture can possibly clash with ano- 
ther, and hence if we read in John v, 24, that believ- 
ers shall not come into judgment, we cannot read in 
Matthew xxv, that they shall. This is a fixed and 
invaluable principle — a general rule to which there is, 
and can be no exception. Nevertheless, let us turn 
to Matthew xxv. 

"When the Son of man shall come in his glory, 
and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit 
upon the throne of his glory. And before him shall 
be gathered all nations ; and he shall separate them 
one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep 
from the goats." . *< ' i 

Now it is most necessary to pay strict attention 
to the precise terms made use of in this scripture. 
We must avoid all looseness of thought, all that 
haste, carelessness, and inaccuracy which have 
caused such serious damage to the teaching of this 
weighty scripture, and thrown so many of the Lord's; 
people into the utmost confusion respecting it. 

And, first of all, let us see who are the parties ar- 
raigned. "Before him shall be gathered idlnaUons'* 
This is very definite. It is the living nations. It is 
not a question of individuals, but of nations— all the 



Gentiles. Israel is not here, for we read in num- 
bers xxiii, 9, that ** the people shall dwell alone, and 
shall not be reckoned among the nations." If Israel 
were to be included in this scene of judgment, then 
would Matthevv xxv stand in palpable contradiction 
to Numbers xxiii, which is wholly out of the ques- 
tion. Israel is never reckoned amongst the Gentiles, 
on any ground or for any object whatever. Looked 
at from a divine point of view, Israel stands alone. 
They may, because of their sins, and under the gov- 
ernmental dealings of God, be scattered among the 
nations; but God's word declares that they shall not 
be reckoned among them; and this should suffice 
for us. 

If then it be true that Israel is not included in the 
judgment of Matthew xxv^ then without proceed- 
ing one step further; the idea of its being a general 
judgment must be abandoned. It cannot be gen- 
eral, if all are not included; but Israel is never 
included under the term "Gentiles." Scripture 
speaks of three distinct classes, namely, "The Jew, 
and the Gentile, and the church of God," and these 
three are never confounded. But, further, we have 
to remark that the church of God is not included in 
the judgment of Matthew xxv. Nor is this state- 
ment based merely upon the fact which has been 
already gone into of the church's necessary exemp- 
tion from juc^ment; but also upon the grand truth 
that the church is taken from among the r itions, as 
Peter declared in the council at Jerusalem. "God 
did visit the Gentiles to take out oftli^m a people 
for His name." If then the church be taken out of 
the nations, it cannot be reckoned among them; 
and thus we have additional evidence against the 
theory of a general judgment in Matthew xxv. The 
Jew is not there; the church is not there; and there- 
fore the idea of a general judgment must be aban- 
doned as something wholly untenable. 

Who then are included in this judgment? The 




■t ;. 



passage itself supplies the answer to any simple 
mind. It says, "Before him shall be gathered all 
natiom." This is distinct and definite. It is not a 
judgment of individuals, but of nations, as such. 
And further, we may add that not orie of those here 
indicated shall have passed through the article of 
death. In this it stands in vivid contrast with the 
scene in Revelation xx. I1-15, in the which there 
will not be one who has not died. In short, in 
Matthew xxv, we have the judgment of "the quick;'* 
and in Rev. xx, the judgment of "the dead." Both 
these are referred to in 2 Timothy, iv. " I charge 
thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who 
shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing 
and his kingdom." Our Lord Christ shall judge the 
living nations at His appearing; and He shall "judge 
the dead small and great" at the close of His mil- 
lennial reign. 

But let us glance, for a moment, at the mode in 
which the parties are arranged in the judgment, in 
Matthew xxv: " He shall set the sheep on his right 
hand, but the goats on the left." Now, the almost 
universal belief of the professing church is that "the 
sheep" represent all the people of God, from the 
beginning to the end of time; and that "the goats," 
on the other hand, set forth all the wicked, from 
first to last. But, if this be so, what are we to make 
of the third party referred to here, under the title of 
"these my brethren?" The king addresses both 
the sheep and the goats in respect to this third class. 
Indeed the very ground of judgment is the treat- 
ment of the king's brethren. It would involve a 
manifest absurdity to say that the .sheep were them- 
selves the parties referred to. If that were so, the 
language would be wholly different, and m place of 
saying, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the 
least of these my brethren,'* we should hear the King 
saying, "Inasmuch as ye have done it to one ano- 
ther,' or amongst yourselves." 



We would beg the reader's special attention to 
this point. We consider that were there no other 
argument, and no other scripture on the subject, 
this one point would prove fatal to the theory of a 
general judgment. It is impossible not to see three 
parties in the scene, namely, **the sheep" and *'the 
goats" and "these my brethren;" and, if there are 
three parties, it cannot possibly be a general judg- 
ment, inasmuch as "these my brethren" are not 
included either in the sheep or the goats. 

No, dear reader, it is not a general judgment at 
all, but a very partial and specific one. It is a juclg- 
ment of living nations, previous to the opening of 
the millennial kingdom. Scripture teaches us that 
after the church has left the earth, a testimony will 
go forth to the nations ; the gospel of the kingdom 
shall be borne, by Jewish messengers, far and wide, 
over the earth, into those regions which are wrapped 
in heathen darkness. These nations which shall 
receive the messengers and treat them kindly will 
be found on the King's right hand. Those, on the 
contrary, who shall reject them and treat them un- 
kindly will be found on His left. "These my 
brethren" are Jews — the brethren of the Messiah. 

The treatment of the Jews is the ground on which 
the nations will be judged by-and-by; and this is 
another argument against a general judgment. We 
know full well that all those who have lived and died 
in the rejection of the Gospel of Christ will have 
something more to answer for than unkindness to 
the King's brethren. And, on the other hand, those 
who shall surround the Lamb in heavenly glory will 
do so on a very different title from aught that their 
works can furnish. 

In short, there is not a single feature in the scene, 
not a single fact in the history, not a single point in 
the narrative which does not make against the notion 
of a general judgment. And not only so, but the 
more we study scripture, the more we know of the 









ways of God ; the more we know of 1 ii.s nature. His 
character, His purposes, His counsels. His thoughts; 
tlic more we know of Christ, His person, His work, 
His glory ; the more we know of the church, its 
standing before God in Christ, its completeness, its 
perfect acceptance in Christ ; the more closely we 
study scripture ; the more profoundly we meditate 
therein — the more thoroughly convinced we must 
be that there can be no such thing as a general 

Who, that knows aught of God, could suppose 
that He would justify His people to-day, and arraign 
them in judgment to-morrow — that He would blot 
out their transgressions to-day, and judge them 
according to their works to-morrow? Who that 
knows aught of our adorable Lord and Saviour Jesus 
Christ, could suppose that He would ever arraign 
His church. His body, His bride, before the judg- 
ment-seat in company with all those who have died 
in their sins? Could it be possible that He would 
enter into judgment with His f)eople for sins and 
iniquities of which He has said, " I will remember 
no more 1 " 

But enough. We fondly trust that the reader is 
now most fully persuaded in his own mind, that there 
is and can be no such thing as a promiscuous resur- 
rection — no such thing as a general judgment. 

We cannot now enter upon the judgment in Rev- 
elation xx, I i-i 5, further than to say that it is a 
post-millennial scene ; and that it includes all the 
wicked dead, from the da}'s of Cain down to the last 
apostate from millennial glory. There will not be 
one there who has not passed through the article of 
death — not one there whose name has been set down 
in life's fair book — not one there who shall not be 
judged according to his own very deeds — not one 
there who shall not pass from the dread realities of 
the great white throne into the everlasting horrors^ 
and ineffable torments of the lake that burnetii with 




fire and brimstone. How awful ! How terrible I 
How perfectly dreadful ! 

O! reader, what say est thou to these things? Art 
thou a true believer in Jesus? Art thou washed in 
His precious blood? Art thou sheltered in Him 
from coming judgment ? If not, let me entreat thee 
now, with all tenderness and earnestness, to flee, this 
very hour from the wrath to come! Flee to Jesus, 
who now waits to receive thee to His loving bosom, 
and to present you to God in the full value of His 
atoning work, and in the full credit of His peerless 


es of 



We must ask the reader to open his Bible and 
read Matthew xxiv, 1-44. It forms a part of one of 
the most profound and comprehensive discourses 
that ever fell on human ears — a discourse which 
takes in, in its marvellous sweep, the destiny of the 
Jewish remnant ; the history of Christendom ; and 
the judgment of the nations. At the last-named 
subject we have already glanced. It remains for us 
now to consider the subject of the remnant of Israel, 
and the history of professing Christianity whether 
genuine or spurious. 

And, first, let us look at the Jewish remnant. 

In order to understand Matthew xxiv, 1-44, it 
will be needful for us to place ourselves at the stand- 
point of those whom our Lord was addressing at 
the moment If we attempt to import into this dis- 
course the light which shines ii\ the Epistle to the 
Ephesians, we shall only involve our minds in con- 
fusion, and miss the solemn teaching of the passage 
which now lies o'^en before us. We shall find noth- 
ing about the church of God> the body of Christ, 
here. The teaching of our Lord is divinely perfect, 
and hence we cannot, for a moment, imagine any- 




thing premature therein. But it would be premature 
to have introduced a subject which, as yet, was hid 
in God. The great truth of the church could not 
be unfolded until Christ, being cut off as the Messiah, 
had taken His place at the right hand of God, and 
sent down the Holy Ghost to form by His presence 
the one body, composed of Jew and Gentile. 

Of this we hear nothing in Matthew xxiv. We 
are entirely on Jewish ground, surrounded by Jewish 
circumstances and influences. The scenery and the 
allusions are all purely Jewish. To attempt to apply 
the passage to the church would be to miss com- 
pletely our Lord's object, and to falsify the real 
position of the church* ot God. The more closely 
M-e examine the scripture, the more clearly we shall 
see that the persons addressed occupy a Jewish 
standpoint, and are on Jewish ground, whether we 
think of those very persons whom our Lord was 
then addressing, or those who shall occupy the self- 
same ground at the close, when the church shall have 
left the scene altogether. 

Let us examine the passage. 

At the close of Matthew xxiii, our Lord sums up 
His appeal to the leaders of the Jewish nation with 
the following words of awful solemnity: "Fill ye up 
then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents 1 ye 
generation of vipers ! how can ye escape the dam- 
nation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you 
prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of 
them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them 
shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute 
them from city to city. That upon you may come 
all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from 
the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of 
Zecharias, son of Barachias, whom ye slew between 
the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, 
All these things shall come 2/pon tJiis gciieratio7i. O 
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, tbou that killest the prophets, 
and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how 




was hid 
ould not 
jod, and 

civ. We 
)y Jewish 
{ and the 

to apply 
niss com- 

the real 
e closely 
' we shall 
a Jewish 
ether we 
Lord was 

the self- 
shall have 

sums up 

:ion with 

mU ye up 

ents 1 ye 

he dam- 

unto you 

some of 

of them 


ay come 

th, from 

)lood of 


nto you, 

rtioii. O 


lee, bow 

often would I have gathered thy children together, 
even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her 
wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is 
left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye 
shall not see me henceforth till \'e shall say, Blessed 
is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (Verse 


Thus closes Messiah's testimony to the apostate 

nation of Israel. Every effort that love, even divine 
love, could put forth had been tried, and tried in vain. 
Prophets had been sent, and stoned ; messenger 
after messenger had gone and pleaded, and rea.- 
soned, and warned, and entreated ; but to no pur- 
pose. Their mighty words had fallen upon deaf cars 
and hardened hearts. The only return made to all 
these messengers was shameful handling, stoning, 
and death. 

At length, the Son Himself was sent, and sent 
with this touching utterance: "It may be they will 
reverence my Son, when they see him." Did they? 
Alas! no. When they saw Him, there was no 
beauty that they should desire Him. The daughter 
of Zion had no heart for her King. The vineyard 
was under the control of wicked husbandmen who 
wanted to keep it for themselves. *' The husband- 
men said among themselves, This is the heir, come 
let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours." 

Thus much as to the moral condition of Israel, 
in view of which our Lord spoke those unusually 
awful words quoted above; and, then, "He went 
out and departed from the temple." How reluctant 
He was to do this we know; for, bhssed be His 
name, whenever He leaves a place of mercy, or 
enters a place of judgment, He moves with a slow 
and measured pace. Witness the departure of the 
glory, in the opening chapters of Ezekiel. "Tfien 
the glory of the Lord departed from off the thresh- 
old of the house, and stood over the chcrubims. 
And the cherubims lifted up their wings, and 



I' n 

|i! li 


mounted up from the earth in my sight : when they 
went out, the wheels also were beside them, and 
every one stood at the door of the east gate of the 
Lord's house; and the glory of the God of Israel 
was over them above." (Chap, x, 18-19.) *'Then 
did the cherubims lift up their wings, and the wheels 
beside them ; and the glory of the God of Israel 
was over them above. And the glory of the Lord 
went up from the midst of the city, and stood upon 
the mountain which is on the east side of the city." 
(Chapter xi, 22-23.) 

Thus, with slow and measured pace did the glory 
of the God of Israel take its departure from the 
house at Jerusalem. Jehovah lingered near the spot, 
reluctant to depart.* He had come, with loving 
alacrity, with His whole heart and with His whole 
soul, to dwell in the midst of His people, to find a 
home in the very bosom of His assembly ; but He 
wasyy?r^<^ away by their sins and iniquities. He 
would fain have remained ; but it was impossible ; 
and yet He proved, by the very mode of His de- 
parture, how unwilling He was»to go. 

Nor was it otherwise with Jehovah Messiah, in 
Matthew xxiii. Witness His touching words, "How 
often would I have gathered thy children together, 
even as a hen gathered her chickens under her 
wing.s, and ye would not!" Here lay the deep 
secret. "I would!' This was the heart of God. 
"F<? would noty This was the heart of Israel. He, 
too, like the glory in the days of Ezekiel, was forced 
away; but not, blessed be His name, without drop- 
ping a word which forms the precious basis of hope 

* Contrast with this reluctant departure His ready entrance into the 
tabernacle, in Exodus xl; and into the temple, 2 Chronicles vii, 1. No 
sooner was the habitation ready for Him, than down He came to occupy 
it and till it with His glory. Ite was a^ quicic to enttr as He was slow to 
depart. And not only so, but ere the book of Ezokitl doses, we see the 
glory coming back again : and "Jehovah Shammah standi engraved in 
everlasting characters uiwn the gates of the V^loved ciry. Nothing 
changeth God's afPection. Whom He loves, an is He loves, He lovet to 
the end. " The same yesterday, to-day, and forever. " 



sn they 
m, and 

of the 
f Israel 

r Israel 
le Lord 
d upon 
I city. 

e glory 
om the 
le spot, 
. whole 
D find a 
3ut He 
3. He 
Dssible ; 
^is de- 

siah, in 



ier her 

: deep 




[; drop- 

f hope 

e into the 
li, 1. No 
to occupy 

H slow to 
ve see the 
rraved in 

e love' 

as to the brighter days to come, when the glory 
shall return, and the daughter of Zion shall welcome 
her King with joyful accents. "Blessed is he that 
Cometh in the name of Jehovah." 

But, until that bright day dawn, darkness, deso- 
lation, and ruin, make up the sum of Israel's history. 
The very thing* which the leaders sought, by the 
rejection of Christ, to avert, came upon them, in 
stern and awful reality. "The Romans shall come, 
and take away both our place and nation." How 
literally, how solemnly this was fulfilled! Alasl 
their place and their nation were gone already, and 
the significant movement of Jesus, in Matthew xxiv, 
I, was but the passing sentence, and writing desola- 
tion upon the whole Jewish system. "Jesus went 
out and departed from the temple." The case was 
hopeless. All must be given up. A long period 
of darkness and dreariness must pass over the in- 
fatuated nation — a period which shall culminate in 
that " great tribulation " which must precede the 
hour of final deliverance. 

But, as in the days of Ezekiel, there were those^ 
who sighed and cried over the sins and so-'rows of 
the nation, so in the days of Matthew xxiv there 
was a remnant of godly souls ho attached them- 
selves to the rejected Messiah, and who cherished 
the fond hope of redemption and restoration for 
Israel. Very dim indeed were their perceptions, 
and their thoughts full of confusion. Nevertheless 
their hearts, as touched by divine grace, beat true 
to the Messiah, and they were full of hcpe as to 
Israel's future. 

Now, It is of the utmost importance that the read- 
er should recognize and understand the position of 
this remnant, and that it is with it our Lord is occu- 
pied in His marvellous discourse on the mount of 
Olives. To suppose, for a moment, that the persons 
here addressed wer? on christian ground, would in- 
volve the abandonment of ail true thoughts of what 



> i f 





Christianity is, and the ignoringof a company whose 
existence is recognized throughout the psalms, the 
prophets, and various parts of the New Testament. 
There was, and there ahvays is, "a remnant accord- 
ing to the election of grace.'' To quote the passages 
v/hich present the history, the sorrows, the exper- 
iences, and the exercises of that remnant, would 
demand a volume, and hence we shall not attempt 
it; but we are extremely desirous that the reader 
should seize the thought that this godly remnant is 
represented by the handful of disciples which gath- 
ered round our Lord on the mount of Olives, We 
feel persuaded that, if this be not seen, the true 
scope, bearing, and application of this remarkable 
discourse must be lost. 

"And Jesus went out, and departed from the 
temple; and his disciples came to him for to shew 
him the buildings of the temple. 'And Jesus said 
unto them, See ye not all these things ? Verily I 
say unto yoUj There shall not be left here one stone 
upon another, that shall not be thrown down. And 
as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples 
came unto him privately, saying. Tell us, when shall 
these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy 
coming, and of the end of the world?" (or age, aiwi/os.) 

The disciples were, naturally, occupied with 
earthly and Jewish objects and expectations — the 
temple and its surroundings. This must be borne 
in mind, if we woiuld understand their ruestion and 
our Lord's reply As yet, they had no thought 
beyond the earthly side of things. They looked 
for the setting up of the kingdom, the glory of the 
Mes.siah, the accomplishment of the promises made 
to the fathers. They had not yet fully taken in the 
solemn and momentous fact that the Messiah was 
to be "cut off and have nothing." (Dan. ix, 26.) 
True, the blessed Master had, from time to time, 
sought to prepare their minds for that solemn event, 
lie had faithfully warned them in reference to 





ns, the 








nant is 

ii gath- 

;. We 

le true 


m the 
) shew 
js said 
^rily I 
J stone 
n shall 
of thy 



5— the 


n and 



3f the 


in the 

1 was 

c, 26.) 



ce to 

the dark shadows that were to gather round His 
path. He had told them that the Son of man 
should be delivered to the Gentiles to be mocked 
and scourged and crucified. 

But they understood Him not. Such sayings 
seemed dark, hard, and incomprehensible; and 
their hearts still fondly clung to the hope of national 
restoration and blessing. They longed to see the 
star of Jacob in the ascendant. Their minds were 
full of expectancy as to the restoration of the king- 
dom to Israel. As yet, they knew nothing- -how 
could they ? — of that which was to spring out of the 
rejection and death of the Messiah. The Lord had 
no doubt spoken of building an assembly ; but as 
to the position and privileges of that assembly, its 
calling, its standing, its hopes, they knew absolutely 
nothing. The thought of a body composed of Jew 
and Gentile, united by the Holy Ghost to a living 
and glorified Head in the heavens, had never en- 
tered — how could it have entered? — their minds. 
The middle wall of partition was still standing; and 
one of their number — the very foremost amongst 
them — had, long after, to be taught, with much 
difficulty, to take in the idea of even admitting the 
Gentiles into the kingdom. 

All this, we repeat, must be taken into account, if 
we would read aright our Lord's reply to the inquiry 
as to His coming and the end of the age. There is 
not a single syllable about the church, as such, from 
beginning to end of that reply. Up to verse 14, He 
passes on to the end, giving a rapid survey of the 
events which should transpire amongst the nations. 
"Take heed," He says, "that no man deceive you. 
For many shall come in my name, saying, I am 
Christ; and shall deceive many. And ye shall hear 
of wars, and rumors of wars: see that ye be not 
troubled : for all these things must come to pass, 
but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against 
nation, and kingdom against kingdom ; and there 





* I 1 


shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes 
in divers places. All these are the beginning of 
sorrows. Then shall they deliver you up to be 
afflicted, and shall kill you : and ye shall be hated 
of all nations for my name's sake. And then shall 
many be offended, and shall betray one another, 
and shall hate one another. And many false pro- 
phets shall rise and shall deceive many. And because 
iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax 
cold. But he that shall endure to the end, the same 
shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom 
shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto 
all nations: and then shall the end come." 

Here then we have a most comprehensive sketch 
of the entire period from the moment in which our 
Lord was speaking, down to the time of the end. 
But the reader will need to bear in mind that there 
is an unnoticed interval — a parenthesis, a break — in 
this period, during which the great mystery of the 
church is unfolded. 

This interval or break is entirely passed over in 
this discourse, inasmuch as the time had not ar- 
rived for its development. It was as yet "hid in 
God," and could not be unfolded until the Messiah 
Was finally rejected and cut off from the earth and 
received up into glory. The entire of this discourse 
would have its full and perfect accomplishment, 
although such a thing as the church had never been 
heard of. For, let it never be forgotten, the church 
forms no part of the ways of God with Israel and 
the earth. And as to the allusion, in verse 14, to 
the preaching of the gospel, we are not to suppose 
that it is at all the same thing as "The glorious gos- 
pel of the grace of God," as preached by Paul. It 
IS styled, "This gospel of the kingdom ;" and more- 
over, it is to be preached, not for the purpose of 
gathering the church, but "as a witness to all na- 
tions." We must not confound things which God, 
in His infinite wisdom, has made to differ. The 

!;■•' . 



church must not be confounded with the kingdom ; 
nor yet the gospel oi the grace of God with the gos- 
pel of the kingdom. The two things are perfectly- 
distinct ; and, if we confound them, we shall under- 
stand neither the one nor the other. And, further, 
we would desire to press upon the reader the abso- 
lute necessity of seeing the break, parenthesis, or 
unnoticed interval in which the great mystery of 
the church is inserted. If this be not clearly seen, 
Matthew xxiv cannot be understood. 

But we must proceed with our Lord's discourse. 

At verse 15, He seems to call His hearers back a 
little, as it were, to something very specific — some- 
thing with which a Jewish believer would be familiar 
from the fact of Daniel's allusion to it. "When ye, 
therefore, shall see the abomination of desolation, 
spoken of by Daniel, the prophet, stand in the holy 
place (whoso readeth let him understand): then let 
them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains. 
Let him which is on the housetop not come down 
to take any thing out of his house: neither let him 
which is in the field return back to take his clothes. 
.... But pray ye that your flight be not in the 
winter, neither on the sabbath day. For then shall 
be great tribulation, such as was not since the begin- 
ning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be." 

All this is most definite. The quotation from 
Daniel xii fixes the application beyond all question. 
It proves that the reference is not to the siege of 
Jerusalem, under Titus; for we read in Daniel xii 
that, "At that time thy people shall be delivered;" 
and, most clearly, they were not delivered in the 
days of Titus. No ; the reference is to the time of 
the end. The scene is laid at Jerusalem. The per- 
sons addressed and contemplated are Jewish believ- 
ers — the pious remnant of Israel, in the great tribu- 
lation, after the church has left the scene. How can 
any imagine that the persons here instructed arc 
viewed as on church ground? What force would 



i"(.'JV^f-J-. -W^flf^- 



■ ii 

II i, 

1 1 


V^ ' 




1 1 T 

" 111 


there be to such in the allusion to the winter or the 
sabbath day ? 

Then, again, "If any man shall say unto you, Lo, 

here is Christ, or there; believe it not If 

they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the detert, 
go not forth: Behold, he is in the secret chambers; 
believe it not." What possible application couUl 
such words have to persons who are instructed ta 
wait for God's Son from heaven, and who know 
that, ere He returns to this earth, they shall have 
met Him in clouds and returned with Him to the 
Father's house ? Could any Christian, instructed in 
his proper hope, be deceived by persons saying that 
Christ is here or there, in the desert or in the secret 
chambers ? Impossible. Such a one is looking out 
for the Bridegroom to come from heaven; and he 
knows that it is wholly out of the question that 
Christ can appear on this earth without bringing rJl 
His people with Him. 

Thus, the simple truth settles everything ; and all 
we want is to be simple in taking it in. The simp- 
lest Christian knows full well that his Lord will not 
appear to him like a flash of lightning, but as the 
bright and morning star, and hence he understands 
that Matthew xxiv cannot apply to the church, 
though most surely the church can study it with in- 
terest and profit, as it can all the other prophetic 
scriptures; and, we may add, the interest will be all 
the more intense, and the profit all the deeper, in 
proportion as we see the true application of such 

Limited space forbids our entering as fully as we 
could wish into the remaining portion of this mar- 
vellous discourse ; but the more closely each sentence 
is examined, the more fully each circumstance is 
weighed, the more clearly we must see that the per- 
sons addressed are not on proper christian ground. 
The entire scene is earthly and Jewish, not heaven- 
ly and christian. There is ample instruction supplied 




for those who shall find themselves, by-and-by , in the 
position here contemplated ; and nothingcan be clear- 
er than that the entire paragraph, from verse 1 5-42, re- 
fers to the period which shall elapse between the rap- 
tureof thesaints,andtheappearingof the Son of Man. 
Some may perhaps feel a difficulty in understand- 
ing verse 34: "This generation shall not pass till 
all these things be fulfilled." But we must remem- 
ber that the word "generation" is constantly used 
in scripture in a moral sense. It is not to be con- 
fined to a certain number of persons actually living 
at the time, but takes in the race. In the passage 
before us, it simply applies to the Jewish race ; but 
the wording is such as to leave the question of time 
entirely open, so that the heart might ever be kept 
in readiness for the Lord's coming. There is noth- 
ing in scripture to interfere with the constant ex- 
pectation of that grand event. On the contrary, 
every parable, every figure, every allusion is so word- 
ed as to warrant each one to look for the Lord's 
return in his own lifetime, and yet to leave ample 
margin for the elongation of the time according to 
the longsuffering grace of a Saviour God. 


r J jH AT varied thoughts and feelings are awakened 
^^ in the soul by the very sound of the word "Chris- 
tendom!" It is a terrible word. It brings before us, 
at once, that vast mass of baptized profession which 
calls itself the Church of God, but is not; which 
calls itself Christianity, but is not. Christendom is 
dark and a dreadful anomaly. It is neither one 
thing nor the other. It is not "the Jew or the Gen- 
tile, or the church of God." It is a corrupt myster- 
ious mixture, a spiritual malformation, the master- 
piece of Satan, the corrupter of the truth of God, 







I 'II 

] :\:h 



and the destroyer of the souls of men, a trap, a 
snare, a stumbling-block, the darkest moral blot in 
the universe of God. It is the corruption of the 
very best thing, and therefore the very worst of 
corruptions. It is that thing which Satan has made 
of professing Christianity. It is worse, by far, than 
Judaism ; worse by far than all the darkest forms of 
Paganism, because it has higher light and richer 
privileges, makes the very highest profession, and 
occupies the very loftiest platform. Finally, it is 
that awful apostacy for which is reserved the very 
hftaviest judgments of God- the most bitter dregs 
in the cup of Mis righteous wrath. 

True it is, blessed be God, there are a few names 
even in Christendom who, through gracf\ have not 
defiled their garments. There are brilliant 
embers amid the smouldering ashes — precious 
stones amid the terrible debris, liut as to the mass 
of christian profession to which the term Christen- 
dom applies, nothing can be more appalling, whether 
we think of its present condition, or its future des- 
tiny. We doubt if Christians generally have any- 
thing like an adequate sense of the true character 
and inevitable doom of that which surrounds them. 
If they had, it would solemnize their minds, and 
cause them to feel the urgent need of standing apart, 
in holy separation, from Christendom's ways, and 
distinct testimony against its spirit and principles. 

But let us tuni again to our Lord's profound dis- 
course on the mount of Olives, in which, as we have 
already observed, He deals with the subject of the 
Christian profession. This He does in three distinct 
parables, namely, the household servant; the ten 
virgins ; and the talents. In each and all we have 
the two things noticed above, the genuine and the 
spurious; the true and the false ; the bright and the 
dark ; that which is of Christ, and that v hich is of 
Satan ; that which belongs to heaven and ihat which 
emanates from hell. 



We shall glance at the three parables which em- 
body, in their brief compass, a vast mine of most 
solemn and practical instruction. 

Turn to Matthew xxiv 45-47. "Who then is a 
faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made 
ruler over his household, to give them in due 
season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord, 
when he cometh, shall find so doing. Verily 1 say 
unto you, that he shall make him ruler over all his 

Here, then, we have at once the source and object 
of all ministry in the house of God. "Whom his 
lord \i<\'&\. made ruler." This is the source. "To 
give them meat in due season." This is the object. 

These things are of the very highest possible mo- 
ment, and they are worthy of the reader's most pro- 
found thought. All ministry in the house of God, 
whether in Old or New Testament times, is of divine 
appointment There is no such thing recognized in 
Scripture as human authority in appointing to the 
ministry. Neither is there such a thing as a self-con- 
stituted ministry. None but God can make or ap- 
point a minister of any sort or description. Thus, 
in Old Testament *' .es, Jehovah appointed Aaron 
and his sons to ' c. r.iesthood; and if a stranger pre- 
sumed to meddle with the functions of the holy office, 
he was to be put to death. Even the king himself 
dared not touch the priestly censer, for we are told 
of Uzziah, king of Judah, that, " When he was strong, 
his heart was lifted up to his destruction ; for he trans- 
gressed against the Lord his God, and went into the 
temple of the Lord to burn incense upon the altar 
of incense. And Azariah the priest went in after 
him, and with him fourscore priests of the Lord, 
that were valiant men. And they withstood Uzziah 
the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto 
thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the Lord, but to 
the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated 
to burn incense; go out of the sanctuary; for thou 


i I' 


t. I 



hast trespassed : neither shall it be for thine honor 
froin the Lord God. . . . A?td Uzziah the king 
was a leper unto the dayofhts deaths (2 Chron. xxvi.) 

Such was the solemn result — the awful conse- 
quence of man's daring intrusion upon that which 
was wholly of divine appointment. Has this no 
voice for Christendom? Assuredly it has. It 
sounds a warning note in our ears. It tells the pro- 
fessing church, in accents not to be mistaken, to 
beware of human intrusion upon a domain which 
belongs only to God. "Every high priest taken 
from among men is ordained for [not by\ men in 
things pertaining to God, that he may offer both 

gifts and sacrifices for sins A7td no 7nan 

taketh this lionour unto himself but he that is called 
[not of men but] of God, as was Aaron." 

Nor was this principle of divine appointment con- 
fined to the high and holy office of the tabernacle. 
No man dare put his hand to the most insignificant 
part of that sacred structure unless by Jehovah's 
direct authority. "The Lord spake unto Moses, 
saying, See I have called hy name Bezaleel the son 
of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah." Nor 
could Bezaleel choose his companions in labour, or 
appoint whom he would to the work, any more 
than he could choose or appoint himself. No; this, 
♦^00, was divine. "And I,' says lehovah, "behold 
I have given with him Aholiab. Thus, Aholiab, 
as well as Bezaleel, held his commission immediately 
from Jehovah Himself, the only true source of all 
ministerial authority. 

Nor was it otherwise in the case of the prophetic 
oflfice and ministry. God alone could make, and fit, 
and send a prophet. Alas! there were those of 
whom Jehovah had to say, "I have not sent them, 
yet they ran." They were unhallowed intruders 
upon the domain of prophecy, just as there were 
upon the office of the priesthood ; but all such 
brought down upon themselves the judgment of God, 



And, may wc not ask, Is this jrrcat principle 
changed now? Has ministry been shifted from its 
ancient base? Mas the Hving stream been diverted 
from its divine source? Is it true that this most 
precious and glorious institution has been shorn of 
its lofty dignities? Can it be possible that, under 
the times of the New Testament, ministry has been 
cast down from its divine excellency? Has it be- 
come a mere human appointment? Can man ap- 
point his fellow, or appoint himself to any one 
branch of ministry in the house of God? 

What answer is to be returned to these questions? 
No doubtful one, thank God; but a distinct and 
emphatic No ! Ministry was, is, and ever shall be, 
divine; divine in its source; divine in its nature; 
divine in its every feature and principle. *' There 
are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And 
there are differences of administrations, but the 
same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, 
but it is the same God that worketh all in all." 
(i Cor., xii, 4-6.) " But now hath 6W set the mem- 
bers every one pf them in the body as it hath pleased 
hiniy **And God hath set some \\\ the church; 
first, apostles; secondarily, prophets; thirdly, teach- 
ers; after that, miracles; then gifts of healing, helps, 
governments, diversities of tongues." (Ver. 18, 2'^?) 
" But unto every one of us is given grace according . 
to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he 
saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captiv- 
ity captive, and gave gifts unto men. . . . , And 
he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and 
some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 
for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the 
ministry, for the edifying of the body of 
till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the 
knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, 
unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of 
Christ." (Ephesians iv, 7-13.) 

Here lies thp grand source of all ministry in the 



I i 





church of God, from first to last — from the founda- 
tion laid in grace, to the topstone, in glory. It is di- 
vine and heavenly, not human or earthly. It is 
not of man or by man, but of Jesus Christ, and God 
the Father who raised Him from the dead, and in 
the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Gal. i.) There 
is no such thing recognized in Scripture as human 
authority in any one branch of ministry in the church. 
Ii it be a question of gift, it is emphatically stated to 
be "the gift of Christ." if it be a question of as- 
signed position, we are, with equal clearness and em- 
phasis, told that "God hath set the members." If 
it be a question of local charge, whether elder or 
deacon, it was entirely of divine appointment, by 
apostolic hands or apostolic delegates. 

All this is so clear, so distinct, so palpable, on the 
veiy surface of Scripture, that it is only necessary 
to say, "How readest thou?" And the more we 
penetrate beneath the surface — the more we are 
conducted by the Eternal Spirit into the profound 
and precious depths of inspiration — the more thor- 
oughly convinced we s^'\\\ be that ministry, in its 
every department and every branch, is divine in its 
source, nature, and principles. The truth of this 
shines out in full-orbed brightness, in the Epistles; 
but we have the germ of it in the words of our Lord 
in Matt, xxv, 45, ** Whom biS lord hath made ruler 
over his household." The household belongs to the 
Lord, and He alone can appoint the servants, and 
this He does according to His own sovereign will. 

Eqally plain is the object of ministry, as stated in 
this parable, and elaborated in the Epistles. " To 
give them meat in due season."' "For the eiiifying 
of the body of Christ" — "that ti^ church may re- 
ceive edifying." It is this that lies near the loving 
heart of Jesus. He would have His household per- 
fected — His church edified — His body nourished 
and cherished. For this end, He bestows gifts, and 
maintains them in the church, and will main- 








tain them until they shall be no lonfrer needed. 
^ But alas! alas! there is a dark side of the picture. 
For this we must be prepared since we have the 
picture of Crnristendom before us. If there is "a 
faithful, wise, and blessed servant," there is also 
"an evil servant" who "says in his heart, My lord 
delayeth his coming." Mark this. It is in tJi'e heart 
of the wicked servant that the thought originates 
as to the delay of the coming. 

And what is the result ? " He .shall begin to smite 
his fellow servant.s, and to eat and drink w ith the 
drunken." How awfully this has been exemplified 
in the history of Christendom, we need not say. 
Instead of true ministry flowiiig from the risen and 
glorified Head in the hca\ens, and promoting the 
edification of the body, the blessing of souls, and the 
prosperity of the household, we have a clerical 
authority, arbitrary rule, a lording it o\ er God's 
heritage, a grasping after this world's w calth and 
powder, fleshly ease, self-indulgence, aid personal 
aggrandisement, priestly domination in its nameless 
and numberless forms and practical consequer.ces. 

The reader will do well to apply his heart to the 
understanding of these things. He will need to sei::e, 
with clearness and power, the distinction between 
clericalism and ministry. The one is a thoroughly 
human assumption; the other, a purel\' ci\ ine ir.sti- 
tution. The former has its source in's e\ il 
heart; the latter has its source in a risen and exalted 
Saviour, who, being raised from the dead, receixxd 
gifts for men, and sheds them forth upon His church, 
according to His own will That is a positi\e 
scourge and curse; this, a dixine blessing to men. In 
fine, this in its root-principle, flows from hea\en and 
leads back thither; that in its root-principle flows 
from hell and leads thither again. 

All this is most solemn, and it should exert a 
mighty influence upvin our souls. There is a dwy 
coming when the Lord Christ will deal, in sumniary 




justice, with that which man has dared to set up in 
His house. We speak not of individuals — though 
surely it is a most serious and terrible thing for any 
one to put his hand unto, or have ought to do with, 
that on which such awful judgment is about to be 
executed — but we speak of a positive system — a 
great principle wL'ch runs in a deep and dark cur- 
rent, through the length and breadth of the professing 
church — we speak of clericalism and priestcraft, in 
all its forms and in all its ramifications. 

Against this dreadful thing we solemnly warn our 
readers. No human language can possibly depict 
the evil of it, nor can human language adequately 
set forth the deep blessedness of all true ministry 
in the church of God. The Lord Jesus not only 
bestows ministerial gifts, but, in His marvellous 
grace, He will abundantly reward the faithful and 
diligent exercise of those gifts. But as to that 
which man has set up, we read its destiny in these 
burning words, "The lord of that servant shall come 
in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an 
hour that he is not aware of and shall cut him asun- 
der and appoint him his portion with the hypo- 
crites ; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." 

May the gracious Lord deliv r His servants and 
His people from all participation in this great wicked- 
ness which is perpetrated in the very bosom of that 
which calls itself the church of God. And, on the 
other hand, may He lead them to understand, to 
appreciate, and to exercise that true, that precious, 
that divine ministry which emanates from Himself, 
and is designed, in His infinite love, for the true 
blessing and growth of that church which is so dear 
to His heart. We are in danger, very great danger, 
while seeking (as we most surely should) to keep 
clear of the evil of clericalism — of rushing into the 
opposite extreme of despising ministry. 

This must be carefully guarded against. We 
have ever to bear in mind that ministry in the 



Church IS of God. Its source is divine. Its nature 
is heavenly and spiritual. Its object is the calling 
out, the building up of the Church of God. Our 
Lord Christ imparts the varied gifts, evangelists, 
pastors, and teachers. He holds the great reservoir 
of spiritual gifts. He has never given it up, and He 
never will. Spite of all that Satan has wrought in 
the professing church ; spite of all the actings of 
"that evil servant;" spite of all man's daring as- 
sumption of authority which, in no wise, belongs to 
him; spite of all these things, our risen and glorified 
Lord "hath the seven stars." He possesses all min- 
isterial gift, power, and authority. It is He alone 
who can make anyone a minister. Unless He im- 
part a gift, there can be no true ministry. There 
may be hollow assumption — guilty usurpation — 
empty affection — worthless talking; but not one 
atom of true, loving, divine ministry can there be 
unless where our sovereign Lord is pleased to bestow 
the gift. And even where He does bestow the gift, 
that gift must be "stirred up," and diligently culti- 
vated, else "the profiting" will not "appear unto 
all." The gift must be exercised, in the power of 
the Holy Ghost, else it will not promote the divinely 
appointed end. 

But we are rather anticipating what is yet to come, 
before us in the parable of the talents, so vv^e shall 
close here by simply reminding the reader that the 
weighty subject on which we have been dwelling 
has direct reference to the coming of our Lord, in- 
asmuch as all true ministry is carried on in view of 
that great and glorious event. And not only so, but 
the counterfeit, the corrupt, the evil thing will be 
judicially dealt with when the Lord Christ shall ap- 
pear in His glory. 



I it)' 


■II ' , 


WE now approach that solemn section of our 
Lord's discourse in which He presents the king- 
dom of heaven under the simiHtude of "Ten Virgins." 
The instruction contained in this most weighty and 
interesting parable is of wider application than that 
of the servant to which we have already referred, 
inasmuch as it takes in the whole range of Christian 
profession, and is not confined to ministry either 
within the house or outside. It bears directly and 
pointedly upon Christian profession, whether true 
or false. 

"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto 
ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth 
to meet the bridegroom." Some have considered 
that this parable refers to the Jewish remnant ; but 
it docs not seem that this idea is born out, either by 
the context in which this parable occurs or by the 
terms in which it is couched. 

As to the entire context, the more closely we 
examine it the more clearly we shall see that the 
Jewish portion of the discourse ends with chapter 
xxiv, 44. This is so distinct as not to admit of a 
question. Equally distinct is the Christian portion, 
extending, as we have seen, from chapter xxiv, 45 
to chapter xxv, 30; while from xxv, 31, to the end, 
we have the Gentiles. Thus the order and fullness 
of this marvellous discourse must strike any thought- 
ful reader. It presents the Jew, the Christian, and 
the Gentile, each on his own distinct ground, and 
according to his own distinctive principles. There 
is no merging of one thing in another, no confound- 
ing of things that differ. In a word, the order, the 
fullness, and the coinprchensixenessofthis profovuid 
discourse are divine, and fill the soul 'Svith wonder, 
love, and praise." We rise from the study of it, as 



a whole, with those words of the apostle upon our 
lips, "O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom 
and knowledge of God ! how unsearchable are his 
judgments, and his ways past finding out." 

And then when we examine the precise terms 
made use of by our Lord, in the parable of the ten 
virgins, we must see that it applies not to Jews but 
to christian professors-- it applies to us— ^it utters a 
voice, and teaches a solemn lesson to the writer and 
the reader of these lines. 

Let us apply our hearts thereto. 

"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened 
unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and w ent 
forth to meet the bridegroom." 

Primitive Christianity was especially characterized 
by the fact here indicated, namely, a going forth to 
meet a returning and an expected bridegroom. 
The early Christians were led to detach themselves 
from present things, and go forth, in the spirit of 
their minds, and in the affections of their hearts, to 
meet the Saviour whom they loved and for whom 
they waited. It was not, of course, a question of 
going forth from one place to another ; it w as not 
local, but moral, and spiritual. It was the outgoing 
of the heart after a beloved Saviour whose return 
was eagerly looked for, day by day. 

It is impossible to read the epistles to the various 
churches and not see that the hope of the Lord's 
sure and speedy return governed the hearts of the 
Lord's dear people in early days. ''They waited 
for the Son from heaven." They knew He was to 
come and take them away, to be with Himself for- 
ever ; and the knowledge and power of this hope had 
the effecL of detaching their hearts from present 
things. Their bright, heavenly hope c ;sed them 
T.O sit loose to the things of earth. ''They looked for 
the Saviour." They believed that He might come 
at any moment, and hence the concerns of this life 
were just to be taken up and attended to for the 




i; ' 



moment — properly, thoroughly attended tc no 
doubt — but only, as it were, on the very tip-toc of 

AH this is conveyed to our hearts, briefly but 
clearly, by the expression, "They went forth to 
meet the bridegroom.'* This could not be intelli- 
gently applied to the Jewish remnant, inasmuch as 
they will not go forth to meet their Messiah, but, 
on the contrary, they will remain in their position 
and amid their circumstances, until He come and 
plant His foot on the mount of Olives. They will 
not look for the Lord to come and take them away 
from this earth to be with Him in heaven; but He 
will come to bring deliverance to them in their own 
land, and make them happy there under His own 
peaceful and blessed reign during the millennial age. 

But the call to Christians was to "go forth." They 
are supposed to be always on the move ; not settling 
down on earth, but going out in earnest and holy aspi- 
rations after that heavenly glory to which they are 
called, and after the heavenly Bridegroom to whom 
they are espoused, and for whose speedy advent 
they are taught to wait. 

Such is the true, the divine, the ncmal idea of 
the Christian's attitude and state. And this lovely 
idea was marvellously realized and practically car- 
ried out by the primitive Christians. But alas ! alas ! 
we are reminded of the fact that we have to do with 
the spurious as well as the true in Christendom. 
There are "tares" as well as "wheat" in the king- 
dom of heaven ; and thus we read of these ten vir- 
gins, that *'five of them were wise, and five were 
foolish." There are the true and the false, the gen- 
uine and the counterfeit, the real and the hollow, in 
professing Christianity. 

Yes, and this is to continue unto the time of the 
end, until the Bridegroom come. The tares are not 
converted into wheat, nor are the foolish virgins 
converted into wise ones. No, never. The tares 



will be burnt and the foolish virgins shut out. So 
far from a gradual improvement by the means now 
in operation — the preaching of the gospel and the 
various beneficent agencies which are brought to 
bear upon the world — we find, from all the parables, 
and from the teaching of the entire New Testament, 
that the kingdom of heaven presents a most de- 
plorable admixture of evil; a corrupting process; 
a grievous tampering with the work of God, on the 
part of the enemy ; a positive progress of evil in 
principle, in profession, and in practice. 

And all this goes on to the end. There are foolish 
virgins found when the Bridegroom appears. 
Whence come they if all are to be converted before 
the Lord comes ? If all are to be brought to the 
knowledge of the Lord by the means now in opera- 
tion, then how comes it to pass that when the Bride- 
groom comes, there are quite as many foolish as wise. 

But it will perhaps be said that this is but a para- 
ble, a figure. Granted ; but a figure of what ? Not 
surely of a whole world converted. To assert this 
would be to offer a grievous insult to the holy volume, 
and to treat our Lord's solemn teaching in a manner 
in which we would not dare to treat the teaching of 
a fellow mortal. 

No, reader, the parable of the ten virgins teaches, 
beyond all question, that when the Bridegroom 
comes, there will be foolish virgins on the scene, 
and, clearly, if there are foolish virgins, all cannot 
have been previously converted. A child can un- 
derstand this. We cannot see how it is possible, 
in the face of even this one parable, to maintain the 
theory of a world converted before the coming of 
the Bridegroom. 

But let us look a little closely at these foolish vir- 
gins. Their histor}- is full of admonition for all 
christian professors. It is very brief, but awfully 
comprehensive. *'They that were foolish took their 
lamps, and took no oil with them." There is the 


Hit. ' 

U : 

|> I' 




outward profession, but no inward reality — no spir- 
itual life — no unction — no vital link with the source 
of eternal life — no union with Christ. There is 
nothing but the lamp of profession, and the dry 
wick of a nominal, notional, head-belief. 

This is peculiarly solemn. It bears down with 
tremendous weight upon that vast mass of baptized 
profession which surrounds us, at the present mo- 
ment, in which there is so much of out\\ ard sem- 
blance, but so little of inA\ard reality. All profess 
to be Christians. The lamp of profession may be 
seen in every hand ; but ah ! how few have the oil in 
their vessels, the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, the 
Holy Ghost dwelling in their hearts. Without this, 
all is utterly worthless and vain. There may be the 
very highest profession ; there may be a most ortho- 
dox creed; one may be baptized; he may receive 
the Lord's supper ; be a regularly enrolled and duly 
recognized member of a Christian community ; be 
a Sunday-school teacher ; an ordained minister of 
religion ; one may be all this, and not have one spark 
of divine life, not one ray of heavenly light, not one 
link with the Christ of God. 

Now there is something peculiarly awful in the 
thought of having just enough religion to deceive 
the heart, deaden the conscience, at id ruin the soul 
— just enough religion to give a name to live while 
dead — enough to leave one without Christ, without 
God, and without hope in the world — enough to 
prop the soul up with a false confidence, and fill it 
with a false peace, until the Bridegroom come, and 
then the eyes are opened when it is too late. 

Thus it is with the foolish virgins. They seem, to 
be Very like the wise ones. An ordinary observer 
miglit not be able to see any difference, for the time 
being. They all set out together. All have lamps. 
A fi/C moreover, all turn aside to slumber and sleep, 
the wise as well as the foolish. All rouse up at the 
midnight cry, m}4 trim their lamps. Thus far there 


is no apparent difTcrcnce. The foolish vii-f^ins h"^dit 
their lamps — the lamp of pnjfession li<^hted up with 
the dry wick of a lifeless, notional, nominal faith ; 
alas! alas! a worthless — worse than worthless — thing, 
a fatal soul-destroying delusion. 

But here the grand distinction — the broad line of 
demarcation — comes out with awful, >ea, with ap- 
palling clearness. "The foolish said unto the wise, 
Give us of your oil; for our lamps <?r^^'-^//'/(,'-^;//'/." 
(See margin.) This proves that their lamps had 
been lighted; for had they not been lighted, they 
could not go out. But it was only a false, flickering, 
transient light. It was not fed from a dixine source. 
It was the light of mere lip profession, fed by a 
head belief, lasting just long enough to deceive 
themselves and others, and going out at the very 
moment when they most needed it, leaving them 
in the dreadful darkness of an eternal night. 

" Our lamps are going out." Terrible discovery ! 
" The Bridegroom is at hand, and our lamps are go- 
ing out. Our hollow profession is being made mani- 
fest by the light of His coming. We thought we 
were all right. We professed the same faith, had 
the same shaped lamp, the same kind of wick; but 
alas I we now find to our unspeakable horror, that 
we have been deceiving ourselves, that we lack the 
one thing needful, the spirit of life in Christ, th(! 
unction from the Holy One, the living link with the 
Bridegroom. Whatever shall we do? O ye wise 
virgins, take pity upon us, and share with us your 
oil. Do, do, for mercy's sake, give us a little, even 
one drop of that all-essential thing, that wc may not ^ 
perish forever." 

Ah ! it is all utterly vain. No one can give of his 
oil to another. Each has just enough for himself 
Moreover, it can only be had from God Himself. A 
man can give light, but he cannot gi\e oil. This 
latter is the gift of God alone. "The wise answered, 
saying, Not so ; lest there be not enough for us and 



1'AI'i:rs on the lord s coming. 


you : but go yc rather to them that sell and buy for 
}ourselvcs. And while they went to buy, the 
Bridegroom came ; and they that w^ere ready went 
in with him to the marriage ; and the door was sJmt'^ 
It is of no use looking to Christian friends to help 
us or prop us up. No use in flying hither and 
t'.iither for some one to lean upon — some holy man, 
or some eminent teacher — no use building upon our 
church, or our creed, or our sacraments. We want oil. 
We cannot do without it? Where are we to get it? 
Not from man, not from the church, not from the 
saints, not from the fathers. We must get it from 
God ; and He, blessed be His name, gives freely. 
" The gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ 
our Lord." 

But, mark, it is an individual thing. Each must 
have it for and in himself. No man can believe, or 
get life for another. Each must have to do with God 
for himself. The link which connects the soul with 
Christ is intensely individual. There is no such 
thing as second-hand faith. A man may teach us 
religion, or theology, or the letter of Scripture ; but 
he cannot give us oil ; he cannot give us faith ; he 
cannot give us life. " It is the gift of God." Pre- 
cious little word, "gift." It is like God. It is free 
as God's air ; free as His sunlight ; free as His refresh- 
ing dew-drows. But, w^e repeat, and with solemn 
emphasis, each one must get it for himself, and have 
it in himself. "None can by any means redeem his 
brother, nor give to God a ransom for him : that he 
should still live forever and not see corruption. For 
the redemotion of their soul is precious, and it 
ceaseth forever." (Psalm xlix, 7-9.) 

Reader, what saycst thou to these solemn reali- 
ties ? Art thou a wise or a foolish \'irgin ? Hast 
thou gotten life in a risen and glorified Saviour, 
Art thou a mere professor of religion, content with 
the mere ordinary dead routine of church-going, 
having just sufficient religion to make thee respect- 


able on earth, but not enough to link thee with 
heaven ? 

We earnestly beseech thee to think serioush' of 
these things Think of thcin, now. Think how 
unspeakably dreadful it will be to find thy l.imp of 
profession going out and leaving thee in obscure 
darkness — darkness that may be felt — the outer 
darkness of an everlasting night. How terrible to 
find the door shut behind that brilliant train which 
shall go in to the marriage ; but shut in thy face ! 
How agonizing the cry, "Lord, Lord, open unto 
us!" How withering, how crushing the respoiisc, 
**I know you not." 

O beloved friend, do give these weighty matters 
a place in thy heart, now, while yet the lioor is 
open, and while yet the day of grace is lengthened 
out in God's marvellous long-suffering. The mo- 
ment is rapidly approaching in the which the door 
of mercy shall be closed against thee for ever, when 
all hope shall be gone, and thy precious soul be 
plunged in blacK and eternal despair. May God's 
Spirit rouse thee from thy fatal slumber, and give 
thee no rest until thou findcst it in the finished work 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, and at His blessed feet, in 
adoration and worship. 

We must now draw this paper to a close; but, 
ere doing so, we shall just for a moment glai 1 ce at 
the wise virgins. The great distinguishing feature 
which, according to the teaching of this parable, 
marks them off from the foolish virgins is that when 
starting at the first they "took oil in their vessels 
with their lamps." In other words, what distin- 
guishes true believers from mere professors is that 
the former have in their hearts the grace of God's 
Holy Spirit; they have gotten the spirit of life in 
Christ Jesus; and the Holy Ghost dwelling in them 
as the seal, the earnest, the unction, and the wit- 
ness. This grand and glorious fact characterizes, 
now, all true believers in the Lord Jesus Christ — a 









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WEBSTER, N.Y. 14580 

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stupendous, wondrous fact, most surely — an im- 
mense and ineffable privilege which should ever 
bow our souls, in holy adoration, before our God, 
and our Lord Jesus Christ, whose accomplished 
redemption has procured for us this great blessing. 

But how sad to think that, notwithstanding this 
high and holy privilege, we should have to read, as 
in the words of our parable, "They all slumbered 
and slept!" All alike, wise as well as foolish, fell 
asleep. The Bridegroom tarried, and all, without 
exception, lost the freshness, fervour, and power of 
the hope of His coming, and fell fast asleep. 

Such is the statement of our parable, and such is 
the solemn fact of the history. The whole profess- 
ing body fell asleep. "That blessed hope' which 
shone so brightly on the horizon of the early Chris- 
tians very speedily waned and faded away; and as 
we scan the page of church history for eighteen 
centuries, from the Apostolic Fathers to the open- 
ing of the current century, we look in vain for any 
intelligent reference to the church's specific hope — 
the personal return of the blessed Bridegroom. In 
fact that hope was virtually lost to the church ; nay 
more, it became almost a heresy to teach it. And 
even now, in these last days there are hundreds of 
thousands of professed ministers of Christ who dare 
not preach or teach the coming of the Lord as it is 
taught in scripture. 

True it is, blessed be God, we notice a mighty 
change within the last half century. There has 
been a great awakening. God is, by His Holy 
Spirit, recalling His people to long- forgotten truths, 
and amongst the rest, to the glorious truth of the 
coming of the Bridegroom* Many are now seeing 
that the reason why the Bridegroom tarried was 
simply because God was Icnifj-sufrering to usward, 
not willing that any shoulcJ perish, but that all 
should come to repentance. Precious reason ! 

But they are also seeing that, spite of this long- 




suffering, our Lord is at hand. Christ is coming. The 
midnight cry has gone forth, "Behold, the Bride- 
groom Cometh; go ye out to meet him." May 
millions of voices re-echo the soul-stirring cry until 
it passes in its mighty moral power, from pole to 
pole, and from the river to the ends of the earth, 
rousing the whole church to wait, as one man, for 
the glorious appearing of the blessed Bridegroom 
of our hearts. 

Brethren beloved in the Lord, awake! awake! 
Let every soul be roused. Let us shake off the 
sloth and the slumber of worldly ease and self-indul- 
gence — let us rise above the withering influence of 
religious formality and dull routine — let us fling 
aside the dogmas of false theology, and go forth, in 
the spirit of our minds and in the affections of our 
hearts, to meet our returning Bridegroom. May 
His own solemn words come with fresh power to 
our souls, " Watch therefore, for ye know neither 
the day nor the hour." May the language of our 
hearts and our lives be, " Even so, come, Lord Jesus." 

The dark stream of evil is flowing a,pace ; 

Awake, and be doing, ye childien of grace, 

Let's seek with compassion the souls that are lost., 

Well knowing the price their redemption has ct 

"While singing with rapture the Saviour's great Ic •'*, 

And waiting for Him to translate us above — 

*' It may be to-morrow, or even to-right "— 

Let our loins be well girded, and lamps burning bright. 


IT only remains for us now to consider that por- 
tion of our Lord's discourse in which He again 
takes up the deeply solemn subject of ministerial 
responsibility during the time of His absence. That 
this stands closely connected with the hope of His 



coming is evident from the fact that having summed 
up the parable of the ten virgins with these most 
weighty words, " Watch therefore, for ye know nei- 
ther the day nor the hour," He goes on to say, 
" For as a man travelling into a far country, who 
called his servants, and delivered unto them his 

There is a material difference between the parable 
of the talents and that of the servant in chapter xxiv, 
45-51. In the latter, we have ministry inside the 
house. In the former, on the other hand, we have 
ministry abroad in the world. But in each we find 
the grand foundation of all ministry, namely, the 
gift and authority of Christ. " He called his own 
servants, and delivered unto them his goods." The 
servants are His and the goods are His. No one 
but the Lord Christ can put a man into the minis- 
try, as none but He can impart spiritual gift. It is 
utterly impossible for anyone to be a minister of 
Christ unless He calls him and fits him for the work. 
This is so plain as not to admit of a single question. 
A man may be a minster of religion ; he may preach 
the doctrines of the gospel, and teach theology; 
but a minister of Christ he cannot possibly be unless 
Christ calls him to, and gifts him for, the work. If 
it be a question of ministry inside the house, it is 
"whom his lord hath made ruler over his house." 
And if it be a question of ministry abroad in the 
world, we are told that "he called his own servants 
and delivered unto them his goods." 

This great root-principle of ministry is powerfully 
embodied in these words of one of the greatest min- 
isters that ever lived, when he says, " I thank Christ 
Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me^ for that he 
counted me faithful, putti?ig me into the ministry*' 
(i Timothy, i, 12.) 

Thus it must be in every case, whatever be the 
measure, the character, or the sphere of ministry. 
The Lord Christ alone can put any one into the 



ministry, and enable him to fulfil it. If it be not 
this, it will be either a man putting himself into the 
ministry, or his fellow man doing it, both of which 
are alike opposed to the mind of God, and to all the 
principles of the true ministry as taught in the word. 
If we are to be guided by Scripture, we must see 
that all ministry in or out of the house must be by 
divine appointment and divine ability. If it be not 
thus, it is worse than worthless. A man may set 
himself up as a minister, or he may be set up by his 
fellows ; but it is all utterly vain. It is not from 
heaven — it is not of God — it is not by Jesus Christ; 
and, in the sequel, it will be made manifest and 
judged as a most horrible and daring usurpation. 

It is of the very last importance that the christian 
reader should thoroughly seize this grand principle 
of ministry. It is as simple as it is solemn. And, 
moreover, that it rests on a basis truly divine can- 
not be questioned by anyone who bows down — as 
every christian ought — with unqualified and abso- 
lute submission, to the authority of the divine word. 
Let the reader take his Bible, and read carefully 
every line therein which bears upon the subject of 
ministry. If he turns to the parable of the house- 
steward, he will read, " Whom his Lord hath made 
ruler." He does not make himself ruler ; neither is 
he appointed by his fellows. The appointment is 

So, also, in the parable of the talents, the master 
calls his own servants, and delivers unto them his 
goods. The call and the equipment are divine. 

We have another aspect ofthe same truth in Luke 
xix, " A certain nobleman went into a far country, 
to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. And 
he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten 
pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come !^ 
The difference between Luke and Matthew appears 
to be this : in the former, human responsibility ; in 
the latter, divine sovereignty is prominent. But in 






both the great root-principle is distinctly maintain- 
ed and unanswerably established, namely, that all 
ministry is by divine appointment. 

The same truth meets us in the Acts of the Apos- 
tles. When one was to be appointed to fill the place 
of Judas, the appeal is made to Jehovah, "Thou, 
Lord, which knowcst the hearts of all, shew whether 
of these two thou hast chosen ; that he may take 
part of this ministry and apostleship." 

And even where it is a question of local charge, as 
^ of deacons, in chapter vi, or of elders, in chapter 
xiv, it is by direct apostolic appointment. In o^her 
words, it is divine. A man could not even appoint 
himself to a deaconship, much less to an eldership. 
In the case of the former, inasmuch as the deacons 
we*-e to take charge of the people's property, these 
latter were, in the grace and lovely moral order of 
the Spirit, permitted to select men in whom they 
could coifide ; but the appointment was divine, 
whether of deacons or elders. Thus, whether it be 
a question of gift or of local charge, all rests on a 
purely divine basis. This is the all-important point. 

Again, if we turn to the Epistles, the same great 
truth shines in full and undimmed lustre before us. 
Thus at the opening of Romans xii we read, " For 
I say, through the grace given unto me, to every 
man that is among you, nottothinkof himself more 
highly than he ought to think ; but to think soberly, 
according as God hath dealt to every man the measure 
of faith. For as we have many members in one 
body, and all members have not the same office ; 
so we being many, are one body in Christ, and 
every one members one of another. Having then 
gifts differing according to the grace that is given us** 
&c. In I Corinthians, xii, we read, ^''Bnt now hath 
God set the members every one of them in the body as 
it hath pleased him." (Ver. l8.) And again, ''God 
hath set some in the church, first, apostles," &c. 
(Ver. 28.) So also in Ephesians iv, " But unto 



every one of us is given grace according to the 
measure of the gift of Christ.'' 

All these Scriptures, and many more that might 
be quoted, go to establish the truth which we are 
intensely anxious to impress upon our readers, 
ly, that ministry in all its departments, is divine — is 
of God — is from heaven — is by Jesus Christ. There 
is positively no such thing in the New Testament 
as human authority to minister in the church of God. 
Turn where we may, throughout its sacred pages, 
and we find only the same blessed doctrine as is con- 
tained in that one brief sentence in our parable, 
"He called his own servants, and delivered unto 
them his goods." The whole New Testament doc- 
trine of ministry is embodied here ; and we earnest- 
ly entreat the Christian reader to let this doctrine 
take full possession of his soul, and exert its full 
sway over his conduct, course and character.* 

But it may perhaps be asked, " Is there no adap- 
tation of the vessel to the ministerial gift deposited 
therein ?" Unquestionably there is ; and this very 
adaptation is distinctly presented in the words of 
our parable, " Unto one he gave five talents, to an- 
other two, and to another one ; to every man accord- 
ing to his several ability y 

This a point of deepest interest, and it must never 
be lost sight of. The Lord knows what use He 
means to make of a man. He knows the character 
of gift which He purposes to deposit in the vessel, 
and He shapes the vessel and moulds the man ac- 
cordingly. We cannot doubt that Paul was a vessel 
sp'^cially formed of God for the place he was after- 
wards to fill, and the work he had to do. And so 
in every case. If God designs a man to be a public 
speaker. He gives him lungs. He gives him a voice. 
He gives him a physical constitution adapted to 

* We do not, by any means, restrict the application of the " talents " to 
diiect, specitic, spiritual gifts. We believe the parable takes in the wide 
range oi Christian service : Just as the parable of the ten vire-ins takes 
In me wide range of Christian profession. 





the work which He designs him to do. The gift is 
from God ; but there is ahvays the most distinct 
reference to the ability of the man. 

if this be lost sight of, our apprehension of the 
true character of ministry will be very defective in- 
deed. We must never forget the two thingr, namely, 
the divine gift, and the human vessel in which the 
gift is deposited. There is the sovereignty of God 
and the responsibility of man. How perfect and 
how beautiful are all the ways of God ! But alas ! 
alas! man mars everything, and the touch of the 
human finger only dims the lustre of divine work- 
manship. Still, let us never forget that ministry is 
divine in its source, its nature, its power, and its ob- 
ject. If the reader rises from this paper convinced 
in his heart and soul of this grand truth, we have so 
far gained our object in penning it. 

But it is not improbable the question may be 
asked, "What has all this subject of ministry to do 
with the Lord's coming?" Much every way. Does 
not our blessed Lord introduce the subject again 
and again, in His discourse on the Mount of Olives? 
And is not this entire discourse a reply to the ques- 
tion of the disciples, "What shall be the sign of thy 
coming and the end of the age ? " Is not His com- 
ing the great prominent point of the discourse as a 
whole, and of each section of it in particular ? Un- 

And what, we may ask, is the next most prominent 
theme ? Is it not ministry ? Look at the parable 
of the servant made ruler over the household. How 
is he to serve ? In view of His Lord's return. The 
ministry links itself on, as it were, to the departing 
and the return of the Master. It stands between, 
and is to be characterized by, these two grand 
events. And what is it that leads to failure in the 
ministry ? Losing sight of the Lord's return. The 
evil servant says in his heart, " My Lord delayeth 
his comirig," and, as a consequence "He begins to 



smite his fellow-servants, and to eat and drink with 
the drunken." 

So also in the parable of the talents. The solemn 
and soul-stirring word is "Occupy tiU I come." In 
short, we learn that ministry, whether in the house 
of God or abroad iii the world, is to be carried on 
in full Wew of the Lord's return. "After a long 
time the lord of those servants cometh and rcckon- 
eth with them." All the servants are to keep con- 
tinually before their minds the solemn fact that there 
is a reckoning time coming. This will regulate their 
thoughts and feelings in reference to every branch 
of their ministry. Hearken to the following weighty 
words in which one servant seeks to animate another, 
" I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord 
Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead 
at his appearing and his kingdom : preach the word; 
be instant in season, out of season ; reprove, rebuke, 
exhort, with all long-sufifering and doctrine. For 
the time will come when they will not endure sound 
doctrine ; but after their own lusts shall they heap 
to themselves teachers, having itching ears. And 
they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and 
shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all 
things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evange- 
list, make full proof of thy ministry. For I am now 
ready to be offered, and the time of my departure 
is at hand. I have fought a good fight. I have 
finished my course, I have kept the faith. Hence- 
forth there is laid up for me a crown of righteous- 
ness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give 
me at thai day ; and not to me only, butiuito all them 
also that love his appearing !\2 Tim. iv, i-8.) 

Does not this touching and weighty passage shew 
how intimatel}' the subject of ministry stands con- 
nected with the Lord's coming? The blessed apos- 
tle — the most devoted, gifted and effective workman 
that ever wrought in the vineyard of Christ — the 
most skilful steward that ever handled the myster- 




les of God — the wise master builder — the great 
minister of the church and preacher of the gospe! 
— the incomparable servant — this rare and precious 
vessel carried on his work, fulfilled his ministry, 
and discharged his holy responsibilities in full view 
of ^Uhat day." He looked forward, and is still look- 
ing, to that solemn and glorious occasion when the 
Righteous Judge shall place on his brow "the crown 
of righteousness." And he adds, with such affect- 
ing sweetness, "not to me only, but unto all them 
also that love his appearing/* 

This is peculiarly touching. There will be a 
crown of righteousness, in " that day," not merely 
for the gifted, laborious and devoted Paul, but for 
every one that loves the appearing of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ. No doubt, Paul shall have 
gems in his crown of peculiar lustre : but, lest any- 
one should think that the crown of righteousness 
was only for Paul, he adds these lovely words, 
"unto all them also that love his appearing." The 
Lord be praised for such words ! May they have 
the effect of stirring up our hearts, not only to love 
the appearing of our Lord, but also to serve with 
more intense and whole-hearted devotedness, in 
view of that glorious day ! That the two things 
are very closely connected, we may see in the sequel 
of the parable of the talents. We can do little 
more than quote the words of our Lord. 

When the servants had received the talents, we 
read, "Then he that had received the five talents 
went and traded with the same, and made them 
other five talents. And likewise he that had received 
two, he also gained other two. But he that had re- 
ceived one went and digged in the earth and hid 
his lord's money. After a long time the lord of 
those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 
And so he that had received five talents came and 
brought other five talents, saying. Lord, thou deliv- 
eredst unto me five talents ; Behold I have gained 



besides them five talents more. His lord said unto 
him, Well done, good and faithful servant : thou 
hast been faithful over a few things, 1 will make thee 
ruler over many things : enter thou into the joy of 
thy lord. He also that had received two talents 
came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two 
talents ; behold, I have gained two other talents be- 
side them. His lord said unto him. Well done, good 
and faithful servant : thou hast been faithful over a 
few things ; I will make thee ruler over many things : 
enter thou into the joy of thy lord." 

It is interesting and instructive to note the differ- 
ence between the parable of the talents as given in 
Matthew, and the parable of the ten servants, in 
Luke xix. In the former, it is a question of divine 
soverignty ; in the latter, of human responsibility. 
In that, each receives a like sum ; in this, one re- 
ceives five, another two, according to the master's 
will. Then, when the day of reckoning comes, we 
find in Luke a definite reward according to the 
work ; whereas in Matthew the word is, " I will 
make thee ruler over many things ; enter thou into 
the joy of thy lord." They are not told what they 
are to have, or how many things they are to rule 
over. The master is soverign both in His gifts and 
rewards ; and the crowning point of all is, " Enter 
thou into the joy of thy lord. ' 

This, to a heart that loves the Lord, is beyond 
everything. True, there will be the ten cities and 
the five cities. There will be ample, distinct, and 
definite reward for responsibility discharged, service 
rendered, and work done. All will be rewarded. 
But above and beyond all, shines this precious word, 
" Enter thou into the joy of thy lord, ' No reward 
can possibly come up to this. The sense of the love 
that breathes in these words will lead each one to 
cast his " crown of righteousness *' at the feet of his 
Lord. The very crown which the righteous Judge 
shall give, we shall willingly cast at the feet of a 



loving Saviour and Lord. One smile from Him will 
touch the heart far more deeply and powerfully than 
the brightest crown that could be placed on the brow. 
But one word ere we close. Who would not work ? 
Who hid his lord's money? Who proved to be "a 
wicked and slothful servant?" The man who did 
not know his master's heart — his master's character 
■—his master's love. **Then he which had received 
the one talent, came and said, Lord, I know thee, [?] 
that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast 
not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed ; 
and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the 
earth : lo, there thou hast that is thine. His Lord 
answered and said unto him. Thou wicked and 
slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I 
sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed. 
Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to 
the exchangers, and then at my coming, 1 should 
have received mine own with usury. Take there- 
fore the talent from him, and give it unto him which 
hath ten talents. For unto every one that hath 
shall be given, and he shall have abundance ; but 
from him that hath not shall be taken away even 
that which he hath. And cast ye the unprofitable 
servant into outer darkness : there shall be weeping 
and gnashing of teeth." 

How awfully solemn I How striking the contrast 
between the two servants ! One knows, and loves, 
and trusts, and serves his Lord. The other belies, 
fears, distrusts, and does nothing. The one enters 
into the joy of his Lord, the other is cast out into 
outer darkness, into the place of weeping and wail- 
ing and gnashing of teeth. How solemn ! How 
soul-subduing is all this! And when does it all 
come out ? When the Master returns 1 

NoTK.— We may add, in connection with the foreg-oing- remarks, on 
tninistry, that every Christian has his and her own specific place and 
work to do. All are aolemly responsihle to the Lord to know their place 
and fill it. to know their work and do It. This is a plain practical truth, 
and most fully confirmed hy the principle upon which we have been in* 




l4jE must now draw this scries of papers to a 
^^ close ; and it is with a strong feeling of reluctance 
that we do so. The theme is intensely interesting, 
deeply practical, and abundantly fruitful. Moreover, 
it is very suggestive, and opens up an extensive 
field of vision for the spiritual mind to range through 
with an interest that never flags, because the sub- 
ject is inexhaustible. 

However, we must, for the present at least, close 
our meditations on this most marvellous line of 
truth ; but ere doing so, we are anxious to call the 
reader's attention, as briefly as .possible, to one or 
two things which have been barely hinted at in the 
progress of these papers. We should not think of 
recalling them were it not that we deem them not 
only interesting, but of real practical value in help- 
ing to a clearer understanding of many branches of 
the great subject which has been engaging our 

And first, then, the reader who has travelled in 
company with us through the various branches of 
our subject will remember a cursory reference to 
what we ventured to call "an unnoticed interval — 
break — or parenthesis" in the dealings of God with 
Israel and with the earth. This is a point of the 
deepest interest ; and we hope to be able to show 
the reader that it is not some curious question, a 
dark mysterious subject, or a favorite notion of 
some special school of prophetic interpretation. 
Quke the contrary. We consider it to be a point 
whiS^ throws a flood of light on very many branches 
of our general subject. Such we have found it for 
ourselves, and as such we desire to present it to our 
readers. Indeed we strongly question if any one 

Bistiiifj.Tiamclyj^that all minlfltrjr and all work must bereoejvod from the 

Maxtor's hand. 
These thlngfj 

ied on under His eye, and in full view of His coming, 
hever be fofgotten. 



can rightly understand prophecy or his own true 
position and bearings, who does not see the unno- 
ticed interval or break above referred to. 

But let us turn directly to the word, and open at 
chapter ix of the book of Daniel. 

The opening verses of this remarkable section 
shew us the beloved servant of God in profound 
exercise of soul in reference to the sad condition of 
his much loved people Israel— a condition into which, 
through the Spirit of Christ, he most thoroughly en- 
ters. Though not having himself personally parti- 
cipated in these actings which had brought ruin 
upon the nation, yet he identifies himself, most com- 
pletely, with the people, and makes their sins his 
own in confession and self-judgment before his God. 

We cannot attempt to quote from Daniel's re- 
markable prayer and confession, on this occasion ; 
but the subject which immediately concerns us now 
is introduced in verse 20. 

**And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and 
confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, 
and presenting my supplication before the Lord my 
God for the holy mountain of my God; yea, whiles 
I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, 
whom I had seen m the vision at the beginning, 
being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the 
time of the evening oblation. And he informed 
me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am 
now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. 
At the beginning of thy supplications the com- 
mandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee ; 
for thou art greatly beloved; therefore understand 
the matter, and consider the vision. Seventy weeks 
are determined [or portioned out] upon thy people, 
and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, 
and to make an end of sins, and to make reconcili- 
ation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting right- 
eousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, 
and to anoint the Most Holy.'* 




Now we cannot, in our limited space, enter upon 
any elaborate argument to prove that the "seventy 
weeks," in the above quotation, mean really four 
hundred and ninety years. We assume this to be 
the fact. We believe that Gabriel was conimission- 
ed to instruct the beloved prophet, and to inform 
him of the fact that, from the going forth of the de- 
cree to rebuild Jerusalem, a period of four hundred 
and ninety years was to elapse, and that then Israel 
would be brought into blessing. 

This is as simple and definite as anything can be. 
We may assert, with all possible confidence, that it 
is not so certain that the sun shall rise, at the ap- 
pointed moment, to-morrow morning, as that at the 
close of the period above named by the angelic 
messenger, Daniel's people shall be brought into 
blessing. It is as sure as the throne of God. Noth- 
ing can hinder. Not all the powers of earth and 
hell combined shall be allowed to stand in the way 
of the full and perfect accomplishment of the word 
of God by the mouth of Gabriel. When the last 
sand of the four hundred and ninetieth year shall 
have run out of the glass, Israel shall enter upon the 
possession of all their destined pre-eminence and 
glory. It is impossible to read Daniel ix, 24, and 
not see this. 

But, it may be, the reader feels disposed to ask 
— and ask, too, with astonishment, "Have not the 
four hundred and ninety years expired long ago?" 
We reply, certainly not. Had they done so, Israel 
would be now in their own land, under the blessed 
reign of their own loved Messiah. Scripture cannot 
be broken ; nor can we play fast and loose with its 
statements, as though they might mean anything or 
everything, or nothing at all. The word is precise. 
" Seventy weeks are portioned out upon thy people." 
Neither more nor less than seventy weeks. If this 
be taken to mean literal weeks, the passage has no 
sense or meaning whatever. It would be an insult 



to our readers to occupy time in combating such art 
absurdity as this. 

But if, as we are most thoroughly persuaded, 
Gabriel meant seventy weeks of years, then have we 
a period most distinct and definite before us — a 
period extending from the moment in which Cyrus 
issued his decree to restore Jerusalem, to the mo- 
ment of Israel's restoration. 

Still, however, the reader may feel led to ask, 
"How can these things be? It is very much more 
than four hundred and ninety years, four times told, 
since the king of Persia issued his decree, and yet 
there is no sign of Israel's restoration. There must 
surely be some other mode of interpreting the 
seventy weeks." 

We can only repeat our statement, that the four 
hundred and ninety years are not out yet. There 
has been a break — a parenthesis — a long unnoticed 
interval. Let the reader look closely at Daniel ix, 
25, 26: "Know therefore and unterstand, that from 
the going forth of the commandment to restore and 
to build Jerusalem, unto the Messiah the Prince, 
shall be seven weeks [49 years] and threescore and 
two weeks [434 years]; the street shall be built again, 
and the wall, even in troublous times;" or, as the 
margin reads it, "in strait of times," that is, the 
street and the wall of Jerusalem were built in the 
shorter of the two periods named, or in forty-nine 
years. "And after threescore and two weeks [434 
years from the rebuilding of Jerusalem], shall Mes- 
siah be cut off, and have nothing." See margin. 

Here then we reach the marked, memorable, and 
solemn epoch. The Messiah, instead of being re- 
ceived, is cut off. In place of ascending the throne 
Oi' David, He goes to the cross. Instead of entering 
upon the possession of all the promises, He has 
nothing. His only portion — so far as Israel and the 
earth were concerned — was the cross, the vinegar, 
the spear, the borrowed grave. 



Messiah was rejected, cut off, and had nothing. 
What then ? God signified His sense of this act, by- 
suspending for a time His dispensational dcaUngs 
with Israel. The course of time is interrupted. 
There is a great gap. Four hundred and eighty- 
three years are fulfilled ; seven yet remain — a can- 
celled week, and all the time since the death of the 
Messiah has been an unnoticed interval — a break or 
parenthesis, during which Christ has been hidden 
in the heavens, and the holy Ghost has been work- 
ing on earth in forming the body of Christ, the 
church, the heavenly bride. When the last mem- 
ber shall have been incorporated into this body, the 
Lord Himself shall come and receive His people to 
Himself, to conduct them back to the Father's house, 
there to be with Him in the ineffable communion of 
that blessed home, while God will, by His govern- 
mental dealings, prepare Israel and the earth for 
the introduction of the First-begotten into the world. 

Now as to this interval and all that was to occur 
therein, Gabriel maintains a profound reserve. 
Whether he understood aught about it is not the 
question. It is clear he was not commissioned to 
speak of it, inasmuch as the time was not come for 
so doing. He passes, with marvellous and myster- 
ious abruptness, over ages and generations — steps 
from headland to headland of the prophetic chart, 
and dismisses in a short sentence or two, a length- 
ened period of nearly two thousand years. The 
siege of Jerusalem by the Romans is thus briefly 
noticed, **The people of the prince that shall come 
shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." Then, 
a period which has already lasted for eighteen cen- 
turies is thus disposed of, "And the end thereof 
shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war 
desolations are determined." 

Then, with intense rapidity, we are conducted on 
to the time of the end, when the last of the seventy 
weeks, the last sc\cn of the four hundred and ninety 

> i , 



years, shall be accomplished. "And he [the prince] 
shall confirm the covenant with many [of the Jews] 
for one week [seven years] ; and in the midst of the 
week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation 
to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations 
he shall make it desolate, even until the consumma- 
tion, and that determined shall be poured upon the 
desolator." Margin. 

Here then we reach the end of the four hundred 
and ninety years which were determined or portion- 
ed out upon Daniel's people. To attempt to inter- 
' pret this period without seeing the break and the 
long unnoticed interval, must of necessity plunge 
the mind in utter confusion. It cannot possibly be 
done. Numberless theories have been started ; end- 
less calculations and speculations have been attemp- 
ted ; but in vain. The four hundred and ninety 
years are not accomplished yet ; nor will they have 
their accomplishment until the church has left this 
scene altogether, and gone to be with her Lord in 
her bright heavenly home. Revelation iv, v, show 
us the place which the heavenly saints shall occupy 
during the last of Daniel's seventy weeks ; while from 
chapter vi-xviii we have the various actings of God in 
government, preparing Israel and the earth for the 
bringing in of the First-begotten in the world.* 

We are very anxious to make these matters clear 
to the reader. It has greatly helped us in the un- 
derstanding of prophecy, and cleared away many 
difficulties. We feel thoroughly persuaded that no 
one can understand the Book of Daniel, or indeed 
the general scope of prophecy, who does not see 

* It is, we are aware, a question amongst expositors whether the events 
detailed in Revelation vi — xviii will occupy a wliole week or only a half. 
We do I ot here attemut to offer an opinion. Some consider that the pub* 
licministry of John the Bai)ti stand that of our Lord occupied a week, 
or seven years, and that in consequence of Israors rejection of both, the 
week is cancelled, and renmains yet to be fulfilled. It is an interesting' 
question; but it in no wise affects the preat principles which have been 
before us, or the interpretation of the book of Revelation. We may add 
that the exnressions *' forty and two month'? "—" twelve hundred and 
.sixty days " " time, times, and the dividing of time " Indicate the period 
of half a week, or three years and a half. 



that the last of the seventy weeks remains to be 
fulfilled. Not one jot or tittle of God's word can 
ever pass away, and seeing He has declared that 
"seventy weeks were portioned out upon Daniel's 
people,' and that at the close of that period they 
should be brought into blessing, it is plain that this 
period is not yet expired. But unless we see the 
break, and the dropping of time, consequent upon 
the rejection of the Messiah, we cannot possibly 
make out the fulfilment of Daniel's seventy weeks, 
or four hundred and ninety years. 

Another important fact for the reader to seize is 
this, the church forms no part of the ways of God with 
Israel and the earth. The church does not belong to 
time, but to eternity. She is not earthly, but heaven- 
ly. She is called into existence during an unnoticed 
interval — a break or parenthesis consequent upon the 
cutting off of the Messiah. To speak after the man- 
ner of men, if Israel had received the Messiah, then 
the seventy weeks or four hundred and ninety years 
would have been fulfilled ; but Israel rejected her 
King, and God has retired to His place until they 
acknowledge their iniquity. He has suspended His 
public dealings with Israel and the earth, though 
most surely controlling all things by His providence, 
and keeping His eye upon the seed of Abraham, 
ever beloved for the fathers' sake. 

Meanwhile He is calling out from Jews and Gen- 
tiles that body called the church, to be the com- 
panion of His Son in heavenly glory — to be thor- 
oughly identified with Him in His present rejection 
from this earth, and to wait in holy patience for 
His glorious advent. 

All this marks off the Christian's position in the 
most definite manner possible. His portion and 
his prospects, too, are thus defined with equal clear- 
ness. It is vain to look into the prophetic page in 
order to find the church's position, her calling, or 
her hope. They are not there. It is entirely out 



of place for the Christian to be occupied with dates 
and historic events, as though he were in anywise 
involved therein. No doubt, all these things have 
their proper place and their value, and their interest, 
as connected with God's dealings with Israel and 
with the earth. But the Christian must never lose 
sight of the fact that he belongs to heaven, that he 
is inseparably linked with an earth-rejected, heaven- 
accepted Christ — that his life is hid with Christ in 
God — that it is his holy privilege to be looking out, 
daily and hourly, for the coming of his Lord. There 
is nothing to hinder the realization of that blissful 
hope at any moment. There is but the one thing 
that causes the delay, and that is, "the long-suffering 
of our Lord, not willing that any should perish, but 
that all should come to repentance" — precious 
words these for a lost and guilty world ! The sal- 
vation is ready to be revealed ; and God is ready to 
judge. There is nothing now to wait for but the 
gathering in of the last elect one, and then — oh ! 
most blessed thought — our own dear and loving 
Saviour will come and receive us to Himself to be 
with Him where He is, and to go no more out for ever. 
Then when the church has gone to be with her 
Lord in the heavenly home, God will resume His 
public actings with Israel. They will be brought 
into great tribulation, during the week already re- 
ferred to. But at the close of that period of unex- 
ampled pressure and trial, their long-rejected Messi- 
ah will appear for their relief and deliverance. He 
will come forth as the rider on the white horse, ac- 
companied by the heavenly saints. He will execute 
summary judgm.ent upon His enemies, and take to 
Himself His great power and reign. The kingdoms 
of this world shall become the kingdoms of our 
Lord and of His Christ. Satan shall be bound for a 
thousand years ; and the whole universe shall repose 
beneath the blissful and benignant rule of the Prince 
of peace. 

■.--f ■ 




Finally, at the close of the thousand ycfirs, Satan 
shall be loosed, and permitted to make one more 
desperate effort — an effort issuing in his eternal de- 
feat and consignment to the lake of fire, there to be 
tormented with the beast and the false prophet 
throughout the everlasting ages. 

Then follows the resurrection and judgment of 
the wicked dead, and their consignment to the lake 
that burneth with fire and brimstone — tremendous 
and appalling thought ! No heart can conceive — 
no tongue can tell — the horrors of that lake of fire. 

But hardly is there a moment to dwell upon the 
dark and awful picture, ere the unutterable glories 
of the new heavens and new earth burst upon the 
vision of the soul ; the holy city is seen descending 
from heaven, and these seraphic sounds fall upon 
the ear, " Behold, the tabernacle of God is with 
men, and he will dwell with them, and thc>' shall be 
his people, and God himself shall be with them, and 
be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears 
from their eyes ; and there shall be no more death, 
neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be 
any more pain ; for the former things are passed 
away. And he that sat upon the throne, said, Be- 
hold I make all things new." 

O beloved christian reader, what scenes are before 
us! What grand realities! What brilliant moral 
glories! May v/e live in the light and power of 
these things ! May we cherish that blessed hope 
of seeing the One who loved us and gave Himself 
for us — who would not enjoy His glory alone, but 
endured the wrath of God in order that He might 
link us with Himself, and share with us all His love 
and glory forever. Oh ! to live for Christ and wait 
for His appearing ! , 

High in the Father's house above 

My mansion is prepared ; 
There is the home, the rest I love, 

And there my bright reward. 


With Him I love, in^potless white, 

In glory I shall shine ; 
His blissful presence my delight, 

His love and glory mine. 

All taint of sin shall be removed, 

All evil done away ; 
And I shall dwell with God's Beloved, 

Through God's eternal day. 





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